Tonight’s new episode of Survivor: Game Changers featured a moment that will probably go down in the annals of reality TV, but should it? Following the events of the episode, there are so many questions that we still are wondering.
For one, what were the discussions like regarding how Survivor and CBS chose to present the events of tonight’s Tribal Council? In the opening minutes of it, Jeff Varner outed his fellow tribemate Zeke Smith as transgender, a moment that he claimed he did in order to show that he was duplicitous within the game and capable of keeping secrets.
This moment was devastating for Zeke, and for the remainder of his tribe. We’ve seen many different uncomfortable moments on the show over the years, whether it be Brandon Hantz losing it in Caramoan and multiple life-threatening injuries. This still takes the case since what Varner did emotionally ravaged Zeke, and took something away from his that was his and was precious.
From Varner’s end, we know that he is apologetic. He said as much on the show, and he said as much again in a statement after the fact.
— Jeff Varner (@JEFFVARNER) April 13, 2017
If Varner is interested in doing exit press tomorrow, we can address this with him further at that time.
We hope that there was a conversation between the show’s producers and Zeke regarding how they had the story come out on national television. Based on the message online from show host Jeff Probst, it does seem like there were conversations and Zeke was aware of what was happening during the proces.
— Jeff Probst (@JeffProbst) April 13, 2017
From a network point of view, there were further difficulties here. There is an interview that Zeke has done with People Magazine that is now online, and it apparently existed in magazine form before tonight’s episode even aired. There was a difficult balance that had to be towed here in terms of not having the show take Zeke’s story away from him and then also keeping the outcome of the episode a secret. We applaud CBS for at least allowing there to be something out there so that Zeke could speak his truth before the moment happened. He deserved, if he wanted, to tell the world before Varner could. Did he deserve more of a platform? That’s really up to Zeke, and we don’t want to speak for him and what the process was for him in handling how he wanted the public to know all of this.
The biggest thing that we do want to do is applaud Zeke further for continuing to have a positive outlook and high spirits through all of this. We want to close by sharing the message that he posted on Twitter, as it is simple and beautiful.
— Zeke Smith (@zekerchief) April 13, 2017
You can read more of our thoughts in the moment from tonight’s Survivor: Game Changers by heading over to this link. (Photo: CBS.)