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'Survivor' outing generates controversy
2017-04-13

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On the April 12 episode of the longtime CBS show Survivor, Jeff Varner outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as transgender—and that move sparked controversy.

Varner, who is gay, shared the information during a Tribal Council, asking Smith, "Why haven't you told anyone you're transgender?" Other contestants criticized Varner for revealing a personal matter, with Varner responding that he outed Smith to show the latter's deception.

Varner apologized, but was later voted off the show. He later said he lost his real-estate job over the media uproar, LGBTQ Nation noted. The real-estate agency he worked for reportedly let him go because he is "in the middle of a news story that [they] don't want anything to do with," Varner told the News & Record.

Host Jeff Probst told Entertainment Weekly, "I cannot imagine anyone thinking what was done to Zeke was okay on any level, under any circumstances, and certainly not simply because there was a million dollars on the line."

Penning a guest column written for The Hollywood Reporter, Smith said he was not thrilled about viewers knowing he is transgender.

The show's theme this cycle is "Game Changers."

The LGBTQ Nation item is at www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/04/gay-man-outed-trans-survivor-competitor-zeke-smith-fired-fallout/.


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