“Survivor” loves metaphors — “On this island, fire represents life” and all that. It sometimes seems to view itself as a metaphor for, and thus separate from, the real world. Players regularly distinguish between “the game” and “real life.” Its gameplay requires a kind of moral compartmentalization, which is relatively innocuous when it involves, say, lying to someone about your vote at a tribal council.
But ultimately, “Survivor” is a real thing that exists in the world. Sexual misconduct on “Survivor” is not a metaphor for sexual misconduct. It is an actual action that happens to an actual person. “Survivor” is not a metaphor for a workplace. It is a workplace, not just for the crew and producers but for the contestants, who sign contracts, make money and contribute to the product of a multi-million-dollar business.
For the sake of its cast and crew — as well as the message it’s sending to millions of men, women and kids in its audience — “Survivor” needs to start acting like that. It needs to confront, in its regular post-finale special, how it failed, why it was wrong and what it’s going to change.
“Survivor” may construct its own reality for entertainment. But this isn’t a game (emphasis added).