How CBS and Survivor's Producers Handled the Outing of a Transgender Contestant

Zeke Smith worked with the network and GLAAD to share his story

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Even in its 34th season, Survivor is still capable of some jaw-dropping twists. And one of the show’s biggest came during Wednesday’s episode of Survivor: Game Changers, in which Jeff Varner, who was frantically trying to avoid being eliminated during the Tribal Council, outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as transgender.

The context around that shocking TV moment—which was immediately met by vitriol from the other contestants, who unanimously dismissed Varner for his cruel act—was one that CBS and Survivor producers had spent nine months preparing for, since the episode was filmed in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands.




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