Survivor's Kellee Kim Is "Hurting" After Controversial Episode, But Urging Kindness

Survivor tackled #MeToo and broke the fourth wall with Kellee Kim

By Chris Harnick Nov 14, 2019 3:17 PMTags

Survivor contestant Kellee Kim found herself in a situation all too familiar to women. On the reality show, Kellee expressed her uncomfortableness with the way Dan Spilo was touching her and invading her personal space.

This isn't just one person," Kellee said in a Survivor confessional. "It's a pattern. It takes five people to be like, ‘Man, the way I'm feeling about this is actually real. It's not in my head. I'm not overreacting to it.' He's literally done these things to five different women in this game. That sucks. That totally, totally sucks."

In a Survivor rarity, Island of the Idols producers broke the fourth wall while interviewing Kellee about the situation.

"If there are issues to the point where things need to happen, come to me and I will make sure that stops," Kellee was told by production. "Because I don't want anyone feeling uncomfortable…It's not OK."

In a joint statement, CBS and MGM said, "In the episode broadcast last night, several female castaways discussed the behavior of a male castaway that made them uncomfortable. During the filming of this episode, producers spoke off-camera to all the contestants still in the game, both as a group and individually, to hear any concerns and advise about appropriate boundaries. A formal warning was also given to the male castaway in question. On Survivor, producers provide the castaways a wide berth to play the game. At the same time, all castaways are monitored and supervised at all times. They have full access to producers and doctors, and the production will intervene in situations where warranted."

Reaction to the situation, and what transpired after when Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel attempted to use the situation to their advantage in the game, was met with swift criticism from viewers on social media. Kellee herself turned to social media to address the episode and her time on the show.

"Hi everyone, I'm hurting and very sad watching this last episode too, but please try to be kind and understanding. No one deserves threats or shaming, and we can talk about this in a way that we are all better for it," she tweeted.

At the end of the episode, she was voted off and sent to the jury.

In a longer Instagram post, Kellee said Survivor reminded her "of how lucky I am to have genuine, truly good loved ones in my life." Kellee went on to thank her supporters, including friends, family and fans.

"I first applied to be on the show because of my love for the game but as I went through casting, it became so much more than that. It was important to me to be a positive role model and break the stereotypes that still persist in Hollywood, reality television, and society at large. I hope I was able to do a little bit of that and bring a bit of joy and laughter to your Wednesday nights," she wrote. 

See her first Ponderosa interview above.

Survivor airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on CBS.