Outrage and compassion after a ‘Survivor’ contestant is outed as transgender

In last night’s episode of Survivor, one contestant outed another as being transgender in a desperate tribal council move. It did not go over well with the other contestants, Jeff Probst, or the fans.

Jeff Varner, the outer, issued an apology via Twitter:

GLAAD issued a statement: “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. 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.”

And the outee, Zeke Smith, wrote a long, moving column for Hollywood Reporter addressing what happened:

I knew that Varner’s actions, though targeted at me, had nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. His terrible utterances were not an effect of my actions, but a reflection of his own personal maladies.

But in calling me deceptive, Varner invoked one of the most odious stereotypes of transgender people, a stereotype that is often used as an excuse for violence and even murder. In proclaiming “Zeke is not the guy you think he is” and that “there is deception on levels y’all don’t understand,” Varner is saying that I’m not really a man and that simply living as my authentic self is a nefarious trick. In reality, by being Zeke the dude, I am being my most honest self — as is every other transgender person going about their daily lives.

I don’t believe Varner hates trans people, just as I don’t believe conservative politicians who attack trans people actually care where we use the bathroom. For both, trans people make easy targets for those looking to invoke prejudice in order to win votes. Thankfully, my tribemates rebuffed his hateful tactics. After 18 days starving and competing with me, they knew exactly the man I am, and after that Tribal Council, we all knew exactly the man Varner is.

I looked to Varner, now the one hunched and quivering, and contemplated the backlash he would face. When he said what he said, he changed both of our lives forever. When he pulled me in for a hug, I felt compelled to reciprocate, both as a sign that I was willing to forgive him and that the shots he had fired missed.

About That Saturday Night Live Clown Sketch

So, Tig Notaro pretty much confirmed that Saturday Night Live stole her sketch:

It has been impossible for me to ignore the cacophony of voices reaching out personally and publicly about the potential plagiarizing of my film Clown Service (a film that I screened at Largo in Los Angeles for over a year and it premiered at Vulture’s Comedy Festival in NYC as well as numerous film festivals around the country and I am currently screening on my national tour).

While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing.

Here is what I can tell you:

First off, I have recently learned that a writer/director who was fully aware of Clown Service when I was making it, actually worked on Louis C.K.’s clown sketch that is in question.

Secondly, Louis C.K. and I have not communicated in any way for nearly a year and a half.

And finally, I never gave anyone permission to use anything from my film.

I hesitated to even address any of this, but I think it is only right to defend my work and ideas and moving forward, I plan to continue screening Clown Service with the joy and pride I always have.

Vanity Fair argues that between Tig Notaro’s high-profile and Louis C.K.’s own issues with joke stealing, this might be the scandal that forces Saturday Night Live to address a plagiarism charge for the first time ever. I’m not holding my breath.

In Other Late Night News

“I would trade good ratings for a better president.” — Stephen Colbert

Jimmy Kimmel takes a few guesses as to where Bill O’Reilly is going on “vacation”:

In Cable News News

Speaking of Bill O’Reilly, he is going to cut back his show to four nights a week. How about zero nights a week, Fox News?

Rupert Murdoch, for one, is in no mood to fire O’Reilly anytime soon.

The Catheter Cowboy ad ran during The O’Reilly Factor in DC last night. Awesome.

Jeffrey Lord, trying to oust Bill O’Reilly as the most hated man on cable news, compared Trump taking people’s health care away to Martin Luther King Jr. “OH, JEFFREY. You do understand that Dr. King was marching for Civil Rights because people that looked like me were being beaten. Dogs were being sicked on them. Basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because of the color of their skin. So let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — a humanitarian, a Nobel Peace Prize winner — to the vagina-grabbing President Donald Trump.” ~mic drop~

Will Megyn Kelly’s first interview at NBC be with Vladimir Putin? POSSIBLY.

In Other TV News

OMG, Veep had to cut a golden showers joke thanks to President PeePlay.

Speaking of Veep, here’s what to expect from the next season which debuts on Sunday.

Here is a Game of Thrones theory generator to generate your craziest theories.

I would totally watch a TV show about time travelling punks by the guy who gave us Black Mirror. In fact, he needs to start making that immediately.

This is just a very good interview with Bill Nye who radiates optimism in a dark time.

Trailer Park

Hot Date, Pop, this fall

In Development


Casting News


Charlie Murphy, Comedian, creator of the famous “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” on Chappelle’s Show. Friends and fans remember him. You should go rewatch “True Hollywood Stories” on Comedy Central’s site. (I’d embed them here, but the code doesn’t play nice on WordPress.)

Michael Ballhaus, Legendary cinematographer


Supernatural: Goat. 78 p.m., The CW

Scandal: The truth of XXX’s assassination (won’t say who’s in the event I might be spoiling it for folks) is revealed in the 100th episode. 8 p.m., ABC

The Blacklist: Redemption: Season finale. 9 p.m., NBC

Urban Cowboy: I will watch this movie every single time it is on. 8 p.m., HBO Signature West

Late Night: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Charlize Theron, Tony Goldwyn, Romeo Santos Conan: Kunal Nayyar, Harland Williams, Lillie Mae The Daily Show: The Best of Hasan Minaj Watch What Happens Live: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys

THURS 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
ABC Grey’s Anatomy
The Catch
CBS The Big Bang Theory
Superior Donuts
Life in Pieces
The Amazing Race
CW Supernatural
FOX MasterChef Junior
Kicking & Screaming
NBC Trial & Error
Chicago Med
The Blacklist: Redemption

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