Survivor contestant Zeke Smith was outed as transgender by fellow contestant Jeff Varner during the show's Wednesday episode, with Varner outing Smith as an attempt to paint him as "deceitful," PEOPLE reports.
Varner made the revelation during a tribal council meeting in an attempt to get Smith voted off the show, although Varner was the one who ended up exiting the series that week after his castmates slammed him for his actions.
Smith said he was "shell-shocked" by Varner's decision to out him on the show, explaining that he is struggling to forgive him.
“I think he hoped others would believe that trans people are dangerous and fraudulent,” he said. “That reasoning is infinitely worse than him outing me because it’s the same one used to discriminate against, attack and murder trans people. What’s great is that nobody bought it.”
“It’s important people see he lost that fight,” he added. “The message should be clear that hate will always lose.”
Varner took to Twitter Wednesday night to apologize to Smith.
“I offer my deepest, most heart-felt apologies to Zeke Smith, his friends and life allies, his family and to all those who my mistake hurt and offended,” he wrote. “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. ET on CBS.
[H/T Twitter / @CP24]
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