Survivor Contestant Jeff Varner Reacts After Getting Fired From His Job for Outing Zeke Smith

Former news anchor has apologized for his actions since the controversial episode aired

By Mike Vulpo Apr 16, 2017 10:52 PMTags

UPDATE: Jeff Varner is speaking out after being let go from his job at Allen Tate Real Estate—the latest repercussion following last week's controversial Survivor tribal council in which he outed fellow castaway Zeke Smith.

Varner spoke to Entertainment Tonight and described being fired as "an ugly, knee-jerk reaction" from his company.

"As I'm spending hours doing press [on Thursday], I discover I can't access my email. Then the MLS association emails to say, 'You've been terminated.' I didn't even find out from my company," he revealed. "Suddenly my real estate license was inactive and my current clients [were] left in the dark. It took hours after my press junket to get anyone with the company on the phone to tell me personally, and even longer to calm my clients."

He continued, "It was an ugly day. My former boss told me that I was in a news story they wanted nothing to with...I wasn't even given the chance to explain or right the wrong."

Varner says he hopes to move forward with a company that will have his back in times of trial and tribulation. "I'm talking to several firms now that I know will care about and believe in their employees. I have had several reach out [and] I'm confident I'll find a better home."

In a statement to E! News Monday, Pat Riley, President and CEO of Allen Tate Companies said, "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. 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. We make all decisions such as this one with careful consideration of our clients, employees and our agents."


Jeff Varner continues to face the repercussions of his actions on Survivor.

Just a few days after outing fellow contestant Smith during tribal council, reports have surfaced claiming Jeff has been fired from his job as a real estate agent.

Survivor's Most Shocking Moments Ever

According to News & Record Greensboro, Jeff was let go from his job as a real estate agent on Thursday. Jeff was told by his employer that he is "in the middle of a story that we don't want anything to do with."

Just one week earlier, Jeff took to Twitter where he appeared to be just starting out on the job.

"Hitting SEND on my first active listing with @AllenTate," he shared from his office. "#Realtors, send me buyers #Realtorlife."



For those who missed the shocking reality TV moment, Jeff admitted to Survivor host Jeff Probst during last week's tribal council that he felt he was going home. In an attempt to save himself, the contestant revealed personal information about Zeke.

"There is deception here. Deception on levels Jeff that these guys don't even understand," he explained before looking at Zeke. "Why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?"

Within moments, several cast members voiced their outrage at Jeff for outing their teammate.

"I didn't want to be the ‘trans' Survivor player and I wanted to be Zeke the Survivor player," Zeke explained. "I don't even need a cheerleader because I know I can do whatever I want to do."

Since the episode aired, Jeff has apologized for his actions and maintained his support for the LGBTQ community.

"I offer my deepest, most heart-felt apologizes to Zeke Smith, his friends and life allies, his family and to all those who my mistake hurt and offended," he shared on Twitter. "I recklessly revealed something I mistakenly believed everyone already knew."

"I was wrong and make no excuses for it. I own responsibility in what is the worst decision of my life."

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

(This story was originally published on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at 2:05 p.m. PST).