Viewers were outraged on Wednesday night after one of the contestants on Survivor was outed as transgender by another competitor.
During one of the reality show's elimination rounds, contestant Jeff Varner accused his rival, Zeke Smith, of being "deceptive." To give what he thought would be an example of how "deceptive" Smith is, Varner said to him: "Why haven't you told anyone you're transgender?"
Because the footage was filmed months ago, activist groups were extremely insulted that CBS would air the shocking moment on TV.
Zeke Smith penned a column for The Hollywood Reporter in which he spoke out about the issue.
"When I got on a plane to Fiji last March, I expected to get voted out third," Mr. Smith wrote. "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."
"In calling me deceptive, Varner invoked one of the most odious stereotypes of transgender people, a stereotype that is often used as an excuse for violence and even murder. 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. In reality, by being Zeke the dude, I am being my most honest self."
Smith also spoke to People magazine about the incident.
"I didn't want to be the 'first transgender Survivor contestant,'" Smith said. I'm not ashamed of being trans, but I didn't want that to be my story. I just wanted to go out on an adventure and play a great game. I just wanted to be known for my game."
Zeke transitioned while studying religion at Harvard, and revealed that he fell into a state of depression during the process.
"My confidence was obliterated, and I was afraid to dream," Smith said. "I realized I needed to take on a big challenge to become the man I wanted to be. For some reason, that was Survivor."
Even though he was open about being transgender while auditioning for Survivor, Smith didn't want to discuss during the filming of the show.
"When you tell people you're trans, you get two reactions: Either they look at you funny and pull back, or they go, 'Aww, that must be so hard.' I'm a goofy, fun-loving guy, so neither of those reactions work well for me," he said.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
What are your thoughts about Jeff Varner outing Zeke Smith as transgender?0comments
- Nicki Minaj Goes On Selfie Rampage, But For Good Reason
- One Of Charlie Murphy's Last Photos Is Both Heartbreaking And Gracious
- Aaron Rodgers Appears To Be Making 'Drastic Changes' After His Split From Olivia Munn
- Jenna Dewan Tatum Goes Airborne In New Steamy Dance Videos