Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers for Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor: Game Changers.”
The tribe has spoken and Zeke Smith is off “Survivor: Game Changers.”
Smith was sent home in Wednesday’s episode of the CBS reality competition.
Fellow contestant Jeff Varner revealed the 29-year-old asset manager is transgender in an earlier episode. Varner, who immediately apologized for outing Smith, was voted off and lost his job soon after the episode aired.
As the show’s credit’s rolled after his exit, Smith called the tribe’s decision to eliminate him “a great move worthy of the title ‘Game Changers.”
“From playing this game, I have confronted so many fears and moved beyond boundaries that I’ve long kept in my life,” he said. “It was a tremendously significant experience. I will forever be a better person because I played ‘Survivor.'”
Smith told The Hollywood Reporter that he knew his time on the show would be short after Varner outed him.
“It became abundantly clear on the first day of the merge,” he said. “My name started getting tossed around, and the reason why is that nobody wanted to sit next to me in the end, because I had a very compelling story.”
Smith told the publication that because many trans people suffering violence and harassment for who they are, he felt compelled to continue playing — even though he suspected his competitors would soon strategize his exit.
“I felt I was in a position where it was very important to model resilience,” Smith said. “No matter when I went, I needed to go out swinging.”