'Survivor' Contestant Jeff Varner Reacts to 'Ugly' Firing After Outing Teammate as Transgender


'Survivor' Contestant Jeff Varner Reacts to 'Ugly' Firing After Outing Teammate as Transgender


Jeff was fired from his job at Allen Tate Real Estate, a day after the episode in which he revealed Zeke Smith is transgender aired on CBS.
The repercussion of Jeff Varner's action on "Survivor" continues outside the show. The real estate agent was fired from his job at Allen Tate Real Estate on Thursday, April 13, a day after he outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as transgender.

His now-former employer Allen Tate Realtors said that Jeff was "in the middle of a news story that we don't want anything to do with." Jeff, who apparently had just began working for the company recently, called the termination "an ugly, knee-jerk reaction" from his company.

He told ET Online, "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. 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, all of whom, by the way, are coming with me to my new firm."

"It was an ugly day. My former boss told me that I was in a news story they wanted nothing to with," he continued. "I was devastated. [I warned the company that headlines might be coming], but apparently not the people who needed to hear it."

Jeff added, "I wasn't even given the chance to explain or right the wrong. In the real estate world, buyers and sellers want to know they're signing up with a company that won't dump them or turn their backs on them in time of trial. So 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."

While Zeke had said that he struggled with forgiving Jeff every day after he outed him as transgender on the show, the experience was also traumatic for Jeff. "[I] have been in therapy, CBS has paid for [me]. They wanted [me] healthy," Jeff said. "This was traumatic for the both of us and it was ugly. When I came out of that game, I believe I even said, 'Somebody shoot me.' I probably sent all the red flags up that I was going to kill myself over this, which of course I would never do that as much as I felt like I probably deserved it. There was a psychologist outside at the path that I walked down and I fell into her arms it was just great for me."

Jeff revealed Zeke had reached out to him, months after filming took place, and it started his "healing" process.

UPDATE (Apr. 17, 2017): Pat Riley, President and CEO of Allen Tate Companies, releases a following statement to AceShowbiz after Jeff Varner reacted to his firing, "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."


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