‘Survivor’ Contestant Outs Fellow Contestant as Transgender at Shocking Tribal Council
When Zeke Smith was cast on Survivor in 2016, the Brooklyn-based asset manager didn’t necessarily plan on sharing that he was transgender.
“I didn’t want to be the ‘first transgender Survivor contestant,’ ” Smith says .
The 29-year-old debuted on season 33 of the CBS show last fall and returned for the all-star season 34 in March.
But last night’s Tribal Counsil a gay player, who was under fire, outed another as transgender, not just to his fellow players, but to millions of viewers.
“Why haven’t you told everyone you’re transgender,” said Jeff Varner, who is gay, to Zeke Smith. “What I’m showing is a deception.”
“But that’s personal!”, the other players protested, some in tears.
“That’s dirty Jeff,” said one.
Update: According to my source, this footage was not aired without Zeke’s permission. Zeke was asked during casting whether he was comfortable with his being transgender being broadcast on national television, and Zeke said that if it somehow came up in the game (as it did last night) that he was okay with it. CBS also provided him counseling after the fact and before the episode aired.
Props to the producers for being both proactive and sensitive about it.