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Jeff Varner's Former Employer Explains Firing After the Survivor Outing Incident

Allie Gemmill is an avid writer, cinephile, Ravenclaw, and pizza enthusiast. She regularly writes on film and television with a special focus on women’s involvement & influence in Hollywood. Additionally, she has bylines at Bustle, Keyfr...

As a consequence of outing Survivor teammate Zeke Smith, Jeff Varner was unceremoniously fired from his job

It has arguably become the most infamous moment in Survivor's nearly 20-year history, and Jeff Varner is still feeling the effects of his decision. On the most recent episode of Survivor: Game Changers, Varner outed teammate Zeke Smith as transgender, a move that shocked everyone on the show and sent the public into a heated dissection of his actions the following day.

Varner appeared contrite in the episode, despite the deeply damaging effects of his actions and accepted his elimination without a tribe vote. Since the episode aired, Varner has spent time atoning for his actions in interviews. When he spoke to SheKnows, he explained that there was no plan to out Smith and that it happened so quickly: "Emotionally, in my Survivor brain, it just [came out]... I had no expectation of any reaction. I had no expectation of any effect that it would have. It just was something that happened."

More: Zeke Smith Makes Survivor History by Turning a Shocking Moment Into a Triumph

In relation to his public and potentially dangerous outing of Smith, news broke a few days ago that Varner had been fired from his job as a realtor at the Allen Tate Real Estate Company. Varner had only been with the new company mere weeks before he was fired. In a statement, Allen Tate CEO Pat Riley explained the company's decision to Entertainment Tonight. "The Allen Tate Companies were built on core values of honesty, integrity and respect. Those fundamental beliefs led us to end our relationship with Mr. Varner, a real estate agent who had become affiliated with our firm just 17 days earlier."

As a consequence of outing Survivor teammate Zeke Smith, Jeff Varner was unceremoniously fired from his job
Image: Robert Voets/CBS

At the time of his firing, Varner branded his former employer's actions as an "ugly knee-jerk reaction," according to Entertainment Tonight. Varner further went on to claim that his former employer had been notified of the episode, which Riley's statement also comments on. "To be clear, at no time before the airing of the Survivor episode on Wednesday evening was our management aware of his actions on that episode," the statement continued. "We make all decisions such as this one with careful consideration of our clients, employees and our agents."

More: Exclusive Interview With Jeff Varner About His Horrific Survivor Mistake

As a consequence of outing Survivor teammate Zeke Smith, Jeff Varner was unceremoniously fired from his job
Image: Jeffrey Neira/CBS

More: Sandra Diaz-Twine Says She's Still the Best Survivor Player Ever

For now, it seems the matter is settled. With a clarification on Varner's comments coming from his former employer, the message seems pretty clear: What happens on Survivor definitely doesn't stay on Survivor.

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