Entertainment EXCLUSIVE: Ozzy Lusth on Witnessing Jeff Varner Out Zeke Smith on 'Survivor': 'The Reaction Was Shock'

21:10  20 april  2017
21:10  20 april  2017 Source:   ETOnline

'Survivor' Fans Will Be Livid for Zeke After 'Culturally Relevant' Episode

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Last week's episode of Survivor: Game Changers was a big moment for Jeff Varner and Zeke Smith, but also one for the rest of the Nuku tribe -- including Ozzy Lusth.

The four-time Survivor player was sitting right next to Varner when he outed Smith as transgender during tribal council, and nearly 10 months later, can still recall the intense "shock" he felt that night.

"The reaction was one of shock. Just being in tribal council, and having somebody basically, you know, change the course of somebody's life in such a dramatic way. You can only feel that sort of shock, and then once it sinks in, there's anger," Lusth told ET over the phone on Thursday. "There's resentment, there's a lot of sadness, and, you know, it's a shame that Varner felt like he had to stoop to that level."

'Survivor' Castaway Zeke Smith Outed as Transgender by Fellow Contestant Jeff Varner During Tribal Council

  'Survivor' Castaway Zeke Smith Outed as Transgender by Fellow Contestant Jeff Varner During Tribal Council Varner apologized profusely after outing his tribemate, but it wasn't enough to save him from elimination.The two-time Survivor player was outed as transgender by fellow tribe member Jeff Varner during tribal council on Wednesday's episode of Game Changers.

' Survivor ' Castaway Zeke Smith Outed as Transgender by Fellow Contestant Jeff Varner During Tribal Council. Send your love to Sarah Lacina, Ozzy Lusth , Tai Trang, Andrea Boehlke, and Debbie Wanner for speaking up on Zeke ’s behalf, being true allies to trans people everywhere, and showing

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  EXCLUSIVE: Ozzy Lusth on Witnessing Jeff Varner Out Zeke Smith on 'Survivor': 'The Reaction Was Shock' © CBS

Fans were also shocked by the moment Varner decided to out Smith on national television. "There is deception here. Deceptions on levels, Jeff, that these guys don't even understand," Varner said in an attempt to avoid his own elimination. "Why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?"

After minutes of blank stares, Smith finally responded with an eloquent speech about metamorphosis, and how he hopes the experience is one that viewers will be able to learn from -- something that Lusth applauds.

"The feeling of shock has died down and I think that you just have to use something like this as an opportunity to... it was a tough thing for Zeke to have to deal with, but, you know, he signed up to be on a nationally syndicated television show, and he's going be seen by millions of people worldwide, and there's always the potential of that happening," he said. "And he was ready for that."

Jeff Probst Reacts to 'Survivor' Outing: 'You Just Don't Do That to Someone'

  Jeff Probst Reacts to 'Survivor' Outing: 'You Just Don't Do That to Someone' The longtime host shared his thoughts on Wednesday's controversial episode of 'Survivor: Game Changers.'"In 34 seasons of Survivor, I have rarely, if ever, personally commented on what is said or done in the game. But this is a unique situation that falls outside the normal boundaries," Probst told Entertainment Weekly on Wednesday. "I cannot imagine anyone thinking what was done to Zeke was okay on any level, under any circumstances, and certainly not simply because there was a million dollars on the line.

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"Zeke was able to turn this into an amazing positive, and be that voice for something that really needs a strong, positive voice at this point in our history," he added. "We need to all reflect, as human beings, on how we treat each other. We need to grant the rights, the equal rights, the civil rights, that everybody deserves across the board, and I hope that this is just a learning lesson for all the people who maybe don't know a trans person in their life, and maybe have never met a gay person in their life, that we're all people, and we all deserve equal respect and equal rights."

This week's episode saw Smith reveal to the rest of his Survivor competitors after the merge that he was transgender -- but Lusth said that being transgender didn't so much make him a target for elimination as his amazing story.

"No [his being trans wasn't a conversation after he shared the news], not really. I mean, the only thing that you have to think at this point is, 'Wow, what a crazy story. He's gone through such a crazy transformation, and if he makes it to the end, it's going to be hard not to give him the money, and not to vote him the winner,' so, you know, that's what he has going against him now," he explained. "And sadly, that's going to be something that's going to be really hard to overcome."

Survivor Fans React to Zeke Smith Being Outed as Transgender: 'Horrifying & Moving & Beautiful All in One'

  Survivor Fans React to Zeke Smith Being Outed as Transgender: 'Horrifying & Moving & Beautiful All in One' After Wednesday's shocking and emotional episode of Survivor, fans of the hit show took social media by storm to react to Zeke Smith being outed as transgender by fellow contestant Jeff Varner. Fans were outraged by Varner's decision, but praised Smith for the way he handled the situation, calling him a "shining star of a human being." "Zeke is the strongest Survivor I've ever seen," wrote one fan. "That tribal was horrifying & moving & beautiful all in one." Another fan said the episode was "painful yet beautiful" and left them "speechless." "Love is so important! Acceptance of everyone is important." Zeke is the strongest Survivor I've ever seen. That tribal was horrifying & moving & beautiful all in one #SurvivorGameChangers- c b (@bobiakattack) April 13, 2017 Complete and utter shock. @zekerchief you responded so well. I don't know if I could have been that strong. #SurvivorGameChangers- Ashe King (@gamingurl42) April 13, 2017 #SurvivorGameChangers I'm speechless

Latest Survivor News, Recaps, Exclusive Interviews & Spoilers. With Sandra Diaz-Twine voted out the last Tribal Council and knowing he was at the bottom of the Nuku Tribe, Jeff Varner attempted to flip everyone against Ozzy Lusth and Zeke Smith .

Oscar “ Ozzy ” Lusth (30) Current Residence: Venice, Calif. Previous Seasons: “ Survivor : Cook Islands” and “ Survivor : Micronesia”. Zeke Smith . Sierra Dawn-Thomas. James “JT” Thomas Jr. Jeff Varner . Tony Vlachos. Debbie Wanner.

Hali Ford, who was voted out during Wednesday's first episode, while Lusth was voted out second, agreed.

"I think it speaks to how much we just think of Zeke as a person, that him being transgender had nothing to do with the vote. It was just not at all in the conversation. We had that one time when we were all gathered around, but then it was all about strategy," she recalled, noting that it was her plan to eliminate Smith anyway. "I wanted Zeke out, actually, because I saw him as a big player, and I was trying to get the numbers with Brad, Sierra, Debbie, me, Troyzan, Michaela and Aubry, hopefully. That was my plan. And I thought Zeke was a good target, Zeke or Ozzy, but no one was really open to Ozzy. So, for me, it was purely strategic, and had nothing to do with any of that drama."

"I think Cirie is a nurse, and she could tell by scars, but [none of us had any idea he was trans]. I mean, as far as I know, people just took him as he presented himself to be," she continued. "I surely did."

At the end of the day, Ford said she was "really proud" of Smith for how he handled the situation.

"I really felt for Zeke, because it's the core of his narrative, like, his life story for the past however many years, and it's just so close to his heart and his identity, that I hate that he had to be exposed in such a jarring way," she said. "No one should have to go through that, so, you know, I was really proud for how he handled it. I thought he was really gracious and strong."

"I think it would be cool to see Zeke up there [in the final three]. He's definitely a power player," Ford confessed. "I think he's pretty good strategically, and I'd like to see him go far, even though I was trying to get him out."

'Survivor': Jeff Probst says 'I was wrong by several thousand miles' about Ozzy .
Each week host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the most recent episode of Survivor: Game Changers. Also, make sure to check out an exclusive deleted scene from the episode above and read our full episode recap here. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The merge episode is always an exciting one as a lot of jockeying for positioning goes down. What was the thing that surprised you the most once everyone got on the same beach and started feeling each other out? JEFF PROBST: At the beginning of the season, I briefly compared Game Changers to swimming in an area of water where you knew there was a shark lurking, waiting to strike. That's the feeling I had again at the merge. There are alliances and they are shifting and getting ready to strike. We chose to tell it from Cirie's point of view because she has so much experience with knowing everything that is really happening the moment the merge kicks in. As you know, I was one of those people who openly questioned why Hali was brought back for Game Changers. Now that she's been eliminated, what did you make of her second go-round? Hali has a very odd playing style and also an unusual social style. It's not always easy to talk to her because she listens so intensely (which is so rare) that even I sometimes get a bit uncertain around her and I'm not playing against her.

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