Intense moment when ‘Survivor’ contestant outs tribe member’s personal ‘secret’ ignites Twitter into controversy

There was much ado about this week’s episode of “Survivor,” where one contestant outed another for being transgender.

An episode like no other in the program’s 17-year history, according to

More on the dramatic moment from the entertainment and pop culture destination site:

Contestant Zeke Smith was outed as transgender by his tribemate Jeff Varner during a contentious tribal council at which Varner was likely to be voted out.  “Why haven’t you told these people you’re transgender?” Varner asked Zeke in front of the tribe, host Jeff Probst, and the television cameras. It was a moment of shock, for Zeke, for his tribe, for Probst (who, as producer, already knew about Zeke’s gender identity but seemed as taken aback by Varner’s actions as anybody), and for the audience at home.

“Two seasons on this show, and I’ve told no one,” Zeke reacted, before staying silent for many long minutes while everyone around him swiftly shut Varner down and loudly denounced his decision to out someone. The reaction by Zeke’s tribemates was instantaneous and one of the few heartening aspects of a moment that was shockingly ugly.


The tense moment can be seen below:

The scene prompted plenty of reaction from social media, to include the question of whether the whole thing was scripted for ratings.

But the best reply of the night may have been: “So he’s Trans, Varner is Gay, and I’m a fat [I]rishman…what’s the big deal?”

Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter that had ‘Survivor’ trending:

Tom Tillison


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