Varner fired

Again, not really my cuppa, but it's dominating the transgender community news.

It turns out that being tossed off the island on Survivor wasn't enough.

Jeff Varner returned home to Greensboro, NC after his public outing of transgender man Zeke Smith during Survivor Tribal Council which was aired this past week. But his life has not returned to normal.

The 50-year-old Varner has been fired from his job at Allen Tate Realtors as a real estate agent, which apparently told him the reason was he "was in the middle of a news story we don't want anything to do with."

In an interview with People magazine, Smith has had this to say about Varner:

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.

I do wish him the best, I just think I wish him the best from afar.

--Zeke Smith

It appears Varner is already setting himself up with his own realty business.

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earthling1's picture

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dkmich's picture

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This is not a big deal in the Real Estate world, as much as it appears to be on the surface. A Brokerage hold the "umbrella" license for the individual agents to operate out from. All that happened was that the Broker removed him from the "umbrella". He can, if experienced enough, open his own office without any brouhaha. The criteria is listed below and sourced from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission's documents.

"To be qualified to serve as a broker-in-charge of a real estate office, a real estate broker shall possess at least two years of full-time real estate brokerage experience or equivalent part-time real estate brokerage experience within the previous five years or real estate education or experience in real estate transactions that the Commission finds equivalent to such experience and shall complete, within a time prescribed by the Commission, a course of study prescribed by the Commission for brokers-in-charge not to exceed 12 classroom hours of instruction."

This to me smacks of all hat and no cattle. If the Real Estate community was serious about punitive measures, he'd have his license yanked.

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gendjinn's picture

So I must confess to actually watching Survivor, and having caught up on the episode I cannot fathom a rational reason for Varner's outing of Zeke at the vote. Nor has his character come across in this season or the previous one as the type of person that would do so malevolently. Granted we are seeing edits in both seasons.

However, as soon as he outed Zeke, it was clear he was going home. There was never any doubt, even as he tried to squirm through various non-apologies. His to the camera speech after the vote seemed to indicate he finally got it and the non-pologising stopped. The outing was such a bone headed move, I cannot see any angle from which it is a play that would gain ANY traction with that group of people. Which speaks to me of an irrational, panic move. Not the frame of mind at which one is necessarily the best. Granted we have an edited version but I did not see malevolence in his action, more panic and stupidity. Does not mitigate the harm in the slightest, but it opens the door for redemption.

We are human, we make mistakes. It is not the mistakes the define us but the response we choose to make. How we seek and achieve redemption, atonement, reparations. How Varner chooses to deal with this will truly define who he is.

Watching Zeke's reaction, I could see the shields go up. It was like he took a breath and held it the rest of the tribal council. One could only imagine the pantomime of pain that played out behind his eyes as he listened to Varner. One can only imagine the diverse conversations it conjured from memory for him. Zeke truly embodied the Kipling poem If in that moment.

Do we know if CBS or the program sought Zeke's explicit permission to run the clip (not that they legally would have needed it). And Jeff seemed (again editing) very quick on the ball with the right position on outing someone (didn't we have and end the fight on the etiquette outing in the 80s?). The reaction of the rest of the people was pretty inspiring, I can't imagine that on national TV 10 years ago and right at the height of the GOP targeting the T of LGBTQ.

Just another sign that we have an absolute majority of lefties with Millennials, Gen X and our Boomer allies. Our time has come so let's get organised and take the country left Smile

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dkmich's picture


I agree with much of what you said. I wonder how easy it is to forget there are millions of people watching and listening - sort of like the internet.

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enhydra lutris's picture

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --