Survivor: Island of the Idols contestant Aaron Meredith apologized Thursday on social media for his role in a controversial tribal council that aired Wednesday in which the tribe discussed some female tribemates’ allegations of inappropriate touching by fellow competitor Dan Spiro.
Contestant Kellee Kim had voiced concerns as early as the second episode of the season (this Wednesday’s was the eighth). After discussing her concerns with new tribemate Missy Byrd during the first half of Wednesday’s two-hour episode, Missy and her alliance member Elizabeth Beisel appeared to exaggerate or fabricate their own reactions to Dan’s inappropriate touching as a tool in the game, thereby undermining Kellee’s legitimate concerns and sending her home, making Janet Carbin so distraught she had to be talked into not quitting the show.
At the second tribal council of the night, host Jeff Probst asked the tribe to discuss what happened at camp after Kellee was voted out.
“Jeff, I just wanna make it clear, this was a Survivor play that went wrong for Janet,” Aaron said of Janet voting to send Dan home, which she was told was how all the women were going to vote.
“I disagree. If you know anything about it, you would not…” Janet interjected.
“I know a lot about it. I know a lot about it. A lot,” Aaron said in response. “And what’s happening now is that the victim role is being assigned by Janet and instead of taking responsibility…is trying to spin this into something that could potentially affect the life of Dan. If this was truly a general tribe concern I would have been involved, Tommy would have been involved, Dean would have been involved.”
Immediately following Aaron’s comment, his tribemate Jamal Shipman voiced his take: that men should not assume they would be told if something inappropriate was going on or a woman felt uncomfortable. “This is exactly what happens in the real world: When a woman brings up a charge and people want to negate whether or not it is legitimate, they say, ‘Well if it was such a big issue, they would have brought it up.'”
The situation created a firestorm of reactions on social media, and Thursday morning, Aaron added his voice to the conversation by posting a tearful video on his Instagram account.
“I want to publicly apologize for my behavior and my actions at tribal council last night,” he says. “Watching back the episode was extremely difficult and I, immediately after saying what I said in the game, I regretted saying what I said and now watching it back I’m very disappointed in myself and how I conducted myself handling the emotions of this game in this situation, given the magnitude of what this surrounds, I’m disappointed in myself. I’m not looking to make any justifications in my behavior. It was completely unwarranted. I was out of line. I was out of place. I let emotions get the best of me.
“I made a mistake and I’m completely, completely owning it up, taking full responsibility for my actions, for the words that I said and I am truly sorry. I am sorry to my castmates, I am sorry to those people who have been personally affected by sexual assault and if I triggered anything with what I said I truly am sorry. It’s not reflective of me as a person outside the game. I don’t conduct myself like that. I don’t handle situations like that. I never have and I am truly sorry. There’s not much I can say. I learned a lot in this experience – in the game. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it outside the game. I’ve spoken to everybody involved and I want everybody to understand and know that I’m aware of what I said. I’m aware that it was wrong. I own up to it. I took full responsibility. If I could go back I would have said what I wanted to say and worded it completely different. Not a moment in my life that I’m proud of and again I am truly, truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. This may be falling on deaf ears. I’m not looking for praise for doing this. It’s how I feel and I’m sorry. Again, I can’t apologize enough.”
Host Jeff Probst has discussed the show’s response to the allegations against Dan in an interview with EW, and Thursday CBS and producer Mark Burnett’s company (MGM, of which he is the chairman of worldwide television) issued a joint statement on the matter. EW’s Survivor expert also has a full recap of the episode.
- Jeff Probst addresses ‘inappropriate touching’ fallout on Survivor
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- CBS and MGM issue statement addressing controversial Survivor episode