(NORTH CAROLINA) — Jeff Varner, who outed his fellow contestant Zeke Smith during an emotional tribal council on Survivor: Game Changers last week, was fired from his job at the Allen Tate real estate company in North Carolina.
Varner, a former news anchor, told Entertainment Tonight online that he was let go last Thursday in an, “ugly, knee-jerk reaction kind of way.”
“As I’m spending hours doing press [on Thursday], I discover I can’t access my email. Then the MLS [multiple listing service] association emails to say, ‘You’ve been terminated.’ I didn’t even find out from my company,” he said. “Suddenly my real estate license was inactive and my current clients [were] left in the dark…. It was an ugly day. My former boss told me that I was in a news story they wanted nothing to with.”
In a statement to ABC News, Pat Riley, Allen Tate’s president and CEO, wrote, “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.”
On the episode — which was taped 10 months earlier — Varner, who is gay, asked Smith, “Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?”
Varner claimed hiding this was proof Zeke was being deceptive.
In the end, Varner apologized but was voted off anyway. He apologized again on Twitter after the episode aired.
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