Survivor host Jeff Probst apologizes to Kellee Kim: 'You were right'
The host promises the contestant who dealt with inappropriate touching that the show will do better moving forward
Survivor has taken a lot of heat for not acting decisively enough once contestant Kellee Kim spoke up on day 2 of Survivor: Island of the Idols about being subjected to inappropriate touching at the hands of another contestant, Dan Spilo.
But when host Jeff Probst sat onstage with Kellee at the reunion show that followed Wednesday night’s season finale, he had a simple message: “You were right,” he told Kellee. “You were right. You were right to speak up. You were right to step forward despite a lot of risks. And to speak your truth. And I want to acknowledge and apologize for your pain. You didn’t ask for it, you didn’t deserve it.”
Probst also talked about how “it was a very complex unprecedented situation for us,” while also acknowledging that “in the months that have passed, we’ve learned so much about what we could have and should have done instead. And if this happened today, we would handle it much differently.”
CBS recently announced a new set of policies to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future as well as a plan to deal with them should they arise, and Kellee hoped that some change for good can come out of what happened to her. “We can’t really go back and change what happened to me and what happened to other people,” said Kim. “I think the most important thing when I think about this situation and what have you is that I hope that this season of Survivor isn’t just defined by inappropriate touching or sexual harassment. I hope that is defined by change. I feel like I can be really proud of the fact that I spoke up and asked for those changes, and CBS and Survivor are making those changes because I asked. I have to fundamentally believe at the end of the day that individuals and institutions are capable of change. And as a result of this season, many of us have had these hard conversations. We have learned a lot and I think we are still learning. And ultimately my biggest hope is that each one of us, each individual, each institution, each organization, and especially CBS and Survivor, can take this and learn from it and do better. I fundamentally believe that we can do better”
Probst immediately responded: “We are committed to it, Kellee… I offer my hand in partnership and I say thank you so much, Kellee.”
Watch an exclusive deleted scene from the Survivor finale above. Also make sure to read our episode recap, and finale interviews with winner Tommy Sheehan, Dean Kowalski, Noura Salman, Lauren Beck, Janet Carbin, and Kellee Kim, and scoop on next season from Jeff Probst. And for more Survivor intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.