'Survivor' contestant fired from job after transgender outing controversy

Jeff Varner, the "Survivor" contestant who made headlines for outing a fellow contestant as transgender, was fired from his job as a real estate agent in North Carolina this week as a result of the incident.

The News & Record newspaper of Greensboro reported on Thursday that Varner was let go from his job as an agent for South Carolina-based Allen Tate Real Estate following the April 12 airing of the "Survivor" episode, which was shot last year in Fiji.

During the closing tribal council sequence, Varner disclosed that fellow contestant Zeke Smith is a transgender male, a move seen as a bid to gain advantage in the elimination competition. The tribal council wound up voting Varner off the show. After the airing, the incident sparked an online backlash against Varner and much discussion about the ethics of outing another person.

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'Survivor: Game Changers'
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'Survivor: Game Changers'
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 3: Nuku Tribe member James 'J.T' Thomas Jr., will be one of the 20 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed 'Game Changers', when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The season premiere marks the 500th episode. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Andrea Boehlke, Jeff Varner, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Oscar 'Ozzy' Lusth, Tai Trang, Zeke Smith and Sarah Lacina at Tribal Council on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Jeff Probst hands over the Immunity Idol to Cirie Fields on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Jeff Probst extinguishes Sandra Diaz-Twine's torch at Tribal Council on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Brad Culpepper, Aubry Bracco, Cirie Fields, Hali Ford and Michaela Bradshaw on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Michaela Bradshaw, Aubry Bracco, Hali Ford, Cirie Fields and Troyzan Robertson on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Jeff Varner, Andrea Boehlke and Sandra Diaz-Twine on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Andrea Boehlke and Sandra Diaz-Twine on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Oscar 'Ozzy' Lusth on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Tai Trang and Andrea Boehlke on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 8: Nuku Tribe member James 'J.T' Thomas Jr., will be one of the 20 castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, themed 'Game Changers', when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The season premiere marks the 500th episode. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - John Cochran and Debbie Wanner on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Debbie Wanner on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Debbie Wanner on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Sandra Diaz-Twine, Sarah Lacina, Tai Trang, Jeff Varner, Zeke Smith and Oscar 'Ozzy' Lusth on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Vote Early, Vote Often' - Hali Ford, Sierra Dawn-Thomas, Debbie Wanner, Tai Trang and Brad Culpepper on the sixth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, April 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 14: 'Dirty Deed' - Jeff Varner on the fifth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 29 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 14: 'Dirty Deed' - Sierra Dawn-Thomas, Troyzan Robertson and James 'J.T' Thomas compete on the fifth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 29 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 14: 'Dirty Deed' - Michaela Bradshaw on the fifth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 29 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 16: 'Dirty Deed' - Jeff Probst extinguishes James 'J.T' Thomas's torch at Tribal Council on the fifth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 29 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 14: 'The Tables Have Turned' - Sierra Dawn-Thomas on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 22 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 14: 'The Tables Have Turned' - Malcolm Freberg and Michaela Bradshaw on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 22 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 14: 'The Tables Have Turned' - Tai Trang on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, March 22 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 5: 'The Stakes Have Been Raised' - Sandra Diaz-Twine, Michaela Bradshaw, Malcolm Freberg, Aubry Bracco, Caleb Reynolds and Hali Ford on SURVIVOR: Game Changers. The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Notably, the season premiere marks the 500th episode of the series. (Photo by Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 5: 'The Stakes Have Been Raised' - James 'J.T' Thomas on SURVIVOR: Game Changers. The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Notably, the season premiere marks the 500th episode of the series. (Photo by Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 5: 'The Stakes Have Been Raised' - Andrea Boehlke and the rest of her tribe on SURVIVOR: Game Changers. The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Notably, the season premiere marks the 500th episode of the series. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 5: 'The Stakes Have Been Raised' - James 'J.T' Thomas, Oscar 'Ozzy' Lusth, Andrea Boehlke, Zeke Smith, Sierra Dawn-Thomas and Tai Trang on SURVIVOR: Game Changers. The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Notably, the season premiere marks the 500th episode of the series. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 5: 'The Stakes Have Been Raised' - Caleb Reynolds, Tony Vlachos, Hali Ford, Aubry Bracco, Troyzan Robertson and Jeff Varner on SURVIVOR: Game Changers. The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Notably, the season premiere marks the 500th episode of the series. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 5: 'The Stakes Have Been Raised' - Sierra Dawn-Thomas, Oscar 'Ozzy' Lusth, James 'J.T' Thomas and Zeke Smith on SURVIVOR: Game Changers. The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 34th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Notably, the season premiere marks the 500th episode of the series. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
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Varner, who is gay, apologized to Smith on the show and has repeatedly apologized in numerous interviews this week.

The News and Record reported Varner was told he was fired because he was "in the middle of a news story that we don't want anything to do with."

North Carolina has been in the center of a transgender rights struggle after the state last year passed a law that banned cities from allowing transgender people to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify. The move generated a swift response, with a slew of major corporations and organizations such as the NBA and NCAA pulling business out of the state. The law was repealed late last month.

Some observers said there was a silver lining to the "Survivor" incident in that it offered viewers the chance to see Smith embraced by his fellow "Survivor" castaways.

"Zeke Smith, and transgender people like him, are not deceiving anyone by being their authentic selves, and it is dangerous and unacceptable to out a transgender person," said Nick Adams, director of GLAAD's Transgender Media Program. "It is heartening, however, to see the strong support for Zeke from the other people in his tribe. Moments like this prove that when people from all walks of life get to know a transgender person, they accept us for who we are."

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Notable LGBT women and activists
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Caitlyn Jenner arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

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Actress Ellen Page stands for a portrait at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in advance of the release of her movie 'Freeheld' in Washington, DC on Friday, October 02, 2015. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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