In case you missed it, something both historic, and well, downright wrong happened on this week’s episode of Survivor. As in, contestant Jeff Varner outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as a transgender man during a tribal ceremony…even though the information had zero to do with the competition or the situation at hand.
Smith, with utter grace and composure, has responded to the incident now that the episode has aired.
During the actual episode — literally within minutes of his fellow contestant revealing something incredibly personal about his life (that again, had nothing to do with the game), Smith said,
He went on to note that, ““I think he hoped others would believe that trans people are dangerous and fraudulent. 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.”
We’re glad to report that the other contestants quickly pointed out that the information was “personal,” had “nothing to do with the game,” and that Varner should never have brought it up in the first place.
When it comes to forgiving Varner, Smith says it’s not easy.
“But I think forgiveness is about hope – hope that he understands why what he did was wrong, hope that he doesn’t ever do something like this again and hope that whatever compelled him to give into his worst instincts in a dark moment is resolved for him,” he continued. “I do wish him the best, I just think I wish him the best from afar.”
We’re genuinely inspired by Smith’s words, and we know that this will serve as an inspiration to so many people who have witnessed this debacle unfold.