Following last week’s “Survivor: Game Changers” episode in which Jeff Varner outed fellow castaway Zeke Smith for being transgender, Varner’s short career in real estate at Allen Tate Companies has come to an end. “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.” Do YOU think Varner should have lost his job over the “Survivor” controversy? Be sure to vote in our poll below.
“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, which was 10 months after it was filmed. This was Varner’s third time playing the game after failing to make the merge in both “The Australian Outback” (Season 2) and “Second Chance” (Season 31), but his comments toward Smith will now likely cast a shadow over his “Survivor” legacy.
“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,” Varner went on to explain about the reality TV controversy that occurred at the mid-point of Season 34 on CBS. “I’ve got a lot of support and a lot of love around me and I can only hope and imagine that Zeke has doubly that.”
Conversely, Smith wrote his own thoughts on the outing. “A person’s gender history is private information and it is up to them, and only them, when, how, and to whom they choose to disclose that information,” he said. “Keeping your gender history private is not the same as a gay person being ‘in the closet.’ The only people who need to know are medical professionals and naked fun time friends.”
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.