Outed transgender 'Survivor' contender defends CBS airing the shocking moment

Jethro Nededog
jeff varner zeke smith OUTING transgender survivor cbs

Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment

When Zeke Smith was outed on Wednesday's "Survivor," angry contenders and viewers immediately jumped on the castmate who did the outing, Jeff Varner.

But in the aftermath of the shocking on-air outing, CBS has since also come under fire for airing the reveal.

On Thursday's episode of "The Talk," Smith confirmed his ongoing love for the game of "Survivor" and "the integrity in its storytelling." And while he hated the manner in which his gender identity came out, he said that he approved of the show airing the outing.

"I've been granted unprecedented autonomy in how I wanted to tell my story," Smith said on the CBS daytime show. "We started having conversations all the way back in Fiji nine months ago about the care with which this episode was going to be handled."

Smith also hoped that, despite being blindsided by the outing, it might have some positive influence.

"I was really proud of how I responded," he said. "I wanted the world to see how much I've grown and I also thought that by showing what happened maybe it wouldn't happen to someone else and something good could come of it."

On Thursday, CBS defended its decision to air the outing of Smith, saying it had worked closely with him and media watchdog GLAAD before coming to the decision.

Watch the video from "The Talk" below:

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