Former “Jeopardy!” champion — and newly announced guest host — Ken Jennings is facing cancel culture after a questionable 2014 tweet of his resurfaced, sparking outrage on the internet.
Jennings currently holds the record for the longest winning streak at 74 of any contestant on the show.
On Monday, the show announced Jennings as one of production’s guest hosts.
What are the details?
As highlighted by Decider, Jennings in 2014 tweeted, “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”
In 2018, he issued an apology for the remarks, saying, “I never did a public flogging for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out to me personally. It was a joke so inept that it meant something very different in my head & I regret the ableist plain reading of it.”
He later added, “I’m strongly against deleting old tweets, even the gross ones. [S]eems like whitewashing.”
The offending tweet resurfaced once more after Jennings was named a guest host following the death of longtime host, Alex Trebek, who passed away on Nov. 8 at the age of 80 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
Actress Yvette Nicole Brown responded to the announcement of Jennings’ new position by simply tweeting, “Nope,” pointing to the 2014 controversy.
“His tweet was bad enough,” she later added, according to Decider. “But the arrogance or callousness to leave it up [on his feed] says more about him than the horrible tweet does.”
Screen Rant reported that Brown wasn’t the only one opposed to Jennings temporarily standing in as host, and some “Jeopardy!” fans have even reportedly said they refuse to watch the show with Jennings at the helm.
The Wrap also reported that Jennings has also been taking fire from the disabled community. The outlet cited Rebecca Cokley, who is director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress.
Cokley wrote, “[Y]eah..[N]ot sure I’ll be able to watch Jeopardy after learning what an ableist-trash heap Ken Jennings is. That just sucks.”
Anything else to know?
At the time of this reporting, Jennings’ initial offending tweet appears to have since been deleted.
“Jeopardy!” is still in its 37th season, and set to begin filming on Monday with Jennings as its host. The new shows hosted by Jennings will air in January 2021, the show said.
A long-term host to replace the beloved Trebek has not yet been announced.