The majority of “Survivor: Game Changers” fans who responded to our poll this week said that Jeff Varner should NOT have been fired for outing Zeke Smith as transgender. A whopping 56% voted that what happens in the game of “Survivor” should have “no effect on a person’s job.” Only 26% of poll respondents think Varner’s firing is justified because his personal comment toward Zeke went “beyond the game.” The remaining 18% said that they could see it go either way.
Soon after last week’s “Survivor” episode aired in which Varner demanded to know why Zeke was deceiving his tribe mates by keeping his trans identity a secret, Varner’s real estate job was terminated. “The Allen Tate Companies were built on core values of honesty, integrity and respect,” said President and CEO Pat Riley. “Those fundamental beliefs led us to end our relationship with Mr. Varner, a real estate agent who had become affiliated with our firm just 17 days earlier.”
Varner’s attempts to lessen the blow by apologizing to Zeke and the transgender community didn’t seem to quell the controversy. “Trans people are beautiful, wonderful human beings who simply want to be their authentic selves,” Varner told Gold Derby in our interview podcast after the episode aired. “Everybody who knows me knows my heart and they know my soul and they know that I’m not that person who would do something like that in a normal environment.”
Do you agree with the majority that Varner should not have been fired from his job? Or did his actions warrant the termination? Be sure to sound off down in the comments section and join the discussion in our lively TV forums.
Get a closer look at the Season 34 contestants by clicking through our cast photo gallery. In our “Survivor” predictions center, you get to answer the following questions before each episode airs on CBS every Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.:
Who will win “Survivor”?
Who will be eliminated?
Who will win Reward?
Who will win Immunity?
Will a hidden idol be played?
Will anybody quit or be medevaced?
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Survivor” in our reality TV forum.