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.”
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.”
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.”
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.