Before last night’s new episode of Survivor: Game Changers aired, one of its contestants, former HSOTD Zeke Smith, publicly came out as transgender, because he wanted to get ahead of the moment when a fellow contestant outed him. So going into last night’s episode, I knew he was going to be outed, but I had no idea it was going to happen in such an uncomfortably gross way. Last week I found out that the Nuku tribe actually killed and ate that baby goat instead of letting it go like editing led us to believe, and NOW THIS!
Zeke had bonded with Jeff Varner and thought they were friends. Zeke and Jeff’s tribe lost the immunity challenge, so they had to vote someone out. Jeff knew his torch would be snuffed out and his chance to win a million dollars was over, because his friend Zeke pretty much told him. So Jeff got more desperate and scrambled to save himself. Jeff, who is gay and an LGBTQ activist, planted the seeds of disgusting act by telling other tribe mates that Zeke is double-crossing them and isn’t who they think he is. I thought Jeff was going to tell them about Zeke then, but then they went to Tribal Council and that’s when I started stretching out my cringe and heaving muscles, because I knew what was about to go down.
During Tribal Council, Jeff told everyone that Zeke and Ozzy are in a secret alliance and that they should vote Ozzy out. Throwing a supposed friend under the bus is no big deal in Survivor. Happens all the time and is part of the game, but then Jeff’s mouth diarrhea’d out the words, “There is deception here, deception on levels that these guys don’t understand. There’s more…” If Jeff Varner had a sensitivity chip, that may have been the time it furiously shook and shot out steam. Jeff could’ve turned back at that point. In that point, he could’ve used his LGBTQ activist smarts to tell himself that what he was about to do was not right. He could’ve said, “There’s more…. um… um… Zeke’s stache isn’t even real! It’s coconut husk!”
Jeff turned to Zeke and asked, “Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?” That machete to the back knocked everything out of Zeke. He shrunk, his eyes went dead and he was fighting back to tears. Jeff didn’t realize that what he pulled was the opposite of right until everyone defended Zeke and said that Zeke was not deceiving them. Jeff then backpedaled so hard his legs almost fell off and contradicted himself all over the place. The lone spark of heartwarming-ness was how everyone backed Zeke.
Zeke was on Survivor before and said that he didn’t “come out” then because he didn’t want to be known as the “trans person” from Survivor, but also said that he’s okay with it. The tribe didn’t even have to vote. Host Jeff Probst quickly asked everyone if they want Jeff Varner out and, duh, they all did.
The moment that was even more gross the sight of that asshole’s hand skin falling off after he burned it brought out many statements. Zeke wrote a well-written and thoughtful piece for The Hollywood Reporter about his transition and how he’s having a hard time forgiving Jeff Varner. GLAAD also said that their Transgender Media Program worked with CBS and Zeke for months before the episode aired to make sure he “would have the opportunity to speak for himself about his experience.”
Jeff Varner also tweeted this last night:
— Jeff Varner (@JEFFVARNER) April 13, 2017
Some people are saying that CBS also played a part in outing Zeke and they could’ve edited that part of the episode. The outing of Zeke was a gigantic chunk of Tribal Council, so they would’ve had to either reshoot the entire thing or awkwardly edit it, which would’ve made the viewers brain fart out a million questions marks and it may have gotten out anyway.
What I do really know is that the gift industry must be having a great couple of weeks. Because Pepsi probably sent a thank you basket to United and United probably sent a thank you gift basket to Sean Spicer and Sean Spicer probably sent a thank you gift basket to Jeff Varner.