Zeke Smith eliminated from 'Survivor: Game Changers'
UPI News Service, 05/04/2017
Zeke Smith, the Survivor contestant who made headlines for being outed as transgender on the show, was eliminated during the tribal council meeting on Wednesday's episode of Game Changers.
"From playing this game, I have confronted so many fears and moved beyond boundaries that I've long kept in my life," Smith said of his exit. "It was a tremendously significant experience. I will forever be a better person because I played Survivor."
Smith who is openly gay and previously appeared on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, was outed in April as being transgender by fellow competitor Jeff Varner in an attempt to save himself from elimination. The tactic didn't prove to be successful, though -- Varner was still voted off the island.
Varner faced backlash on social media following the incident and was subsequently fired from his real estate job.
Varner tweeted an apology stating, "I am deeply saddened at what my mistake unleashed and I promise to use its lessons to do the right thing."
Smith reflected on the reaction and how much support he gained following his public outing in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, writing, "Where we expected angry villagers wielding pitchforks, we confronted a sea of puppies and rainbows."
"We'd never seen a trans story responded to with such overwhelming outrage toward the wrongdoer and sympathy toward the wronged," he continued. "Typically, trans victims of crimes far worse than what I endured are ridiculed and the perpetrators let off scot-free."
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