Arts&Culture

'Survivor' Contestant Who Outed Trans Teammate Apologizes For 'Assault'

'Survivor' Contestant Who Outed Trans Teammate Apologizes For 'Assault'

The reality TV personality wants to make it clear why he wasn't forthright about his identity on the hit show.

"Survivor" castaway Zeke Smith opens up about last night's emotional tribal council, when a fellow contestant revealed Zeke is transgender.

Varner calls his actions a "mistake" on Twitter and says he's "deeply saddened".

"In proclaiming, "Zeke is not the guy you think he is" and that 'there is deception on levels y'all don't understand, ' Varner is saying that I'm not really a man and that simply living as my authentic self is a nefarious trick", he writes.

Varner, who told host Jeff Probst that he felt he was going home earlier in the tribal council, chose to reveal one last piece of information in the hopes of saving himself.

Varner's self-defense was not a success with other players, some of whom were in tears.

If you haven't seen the video of Zeke Smith being outed on Survivor: Game Changers, it's shocking.

"And one of the reasons why I didn't want to lead with that is I didn't want to be like the trans Survivor player, I wanted to be Zeke the Survivor player".

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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly Survivor Jeff Probst said, "In 34 seasons of Survivor, I have rarely, if ever, personally commented on what is said or done in the game".

Varner, who was indeed eliminated at the end of the episode after contestants rallied around Smith in support, has already written a lengthy apology on social media, which CBS's statement acknowledges. I feared if I let anyone too close, they'd smell my stench and not want to be my friend anymore. I'd return home, laugh at my misadventure, and go about my life, casually trans in the same way that Zac Efron is casually Jewish.

"We don't need to vote", Probst told Varner in a Survivor first. I can't even begin to explain why this is bad.

Probst said that he was impressed by Smith's calm response to Varner, even hugging him as he left the show.

Smith wrote that he remembers "the smug smirk on his face and the gleam in his eye" before Varner asked the question. It can leave scars that haunt for a lifetime.

"I think you see this tactic used a lot by politicians to pass these so-called bathroom bills and I don't think it's a coincidence that he's from North Carolina, where the most unsafe of these bathroom bills was passed", says Zeke, finally able to break his silence now that the episode has aired.

"We cisgender Americans live with an enormous amount of privilege and should spend time pondering how we can use that for greater good", Jeff concluded. When we disrespect or discriminate, or turn blind eyes to it, we would all of us.

CBS also arranged for him to speak to the show's psychologist and a local psychologist, he said.


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