Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Survivor's Jeff Varner Is "Devastated" About Being Fired from His Job After Zeke Smith Controversy

"It was an ugly day"

Amanda Bell

Survivor alum Jeff Varner was fired from his job as a real estate agent in the wake of Wednesday's episode, in which Varner outed his fellow contestant Zeke Smith as being transgender.

Varner told Entertainment Tonightthat he warned his bosses about the episode ahead of time, but was unceremoniously let go on Thursday. He learned of his dismissal when he discovered he couldn't access his work email while doing exit interviews with press outlets including TVGuide.com.

"Then the MLS association emails to say, 'You've been terminated,'" Varner told ET. "I didn't even find out from my company. Suddenly my real estate license was inactive and my current clients [were] left in the dark."

Survivor's Jeff Varner: Zeke has every right to hate me

Varner says his boss explained that the company "wanted nothing to do with" the news story about Varner and Zeke. "It was an ugly day," he says. "I was devastated."

After the episode aired, Varner publicly apologized for his behavior in a statement, writing "I offer my deepest, most heartfelt apologies to Zeke Smith, his friends and life allies, his family and to all those who my mistake hurt and offended."

But his apology wasn't enough to save his job status from the fallout.

Varner added that he is optimistic about his chances of re-entering the workforce at a new real estate and hopes his clients will join him in the move.

Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.