Former show contestants are requesting an apology after a “Jeopardy!” winner allegedly flashed a gesture that has become associated with certain hate groups.
A group of former show participants penned an open letter published to Medium on Wednesday condemning incidents on the game show.
“A recent contestant has caused concern among ‘Jeopardy!’ viewers for two separate occurrences, and we as former contestants feel the need to speak out against the messaging that these choices communicated — either intentionally or unintentionally — by the contestant Kelly Donohue and, implicitly by association, the producers of ‘Jeopardy!’” they wrote.
The “more widely felt” of the two missteps occurred on Tuesday when Donohue “held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest.” Donohue has since emphasized that he was merely indicating that he’d won three games, noting that he had gestured with one finger and two fingers to indicate his previous wins.
Letter writers, however, claim that the specific way he chose to indicate the number three was extremely similar to the gesture “coopted by white power groups, alt-right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters” and thus should have been censored — and not made it to broadcast.
“A couple of years ago, a contestant unintentionally wagered a monetary amount that used numerical values coopted by white supremacist groups and, since the total didn’t affect the outcome of the game, ‘Jeopardy!’ digitally altered the numbers in the version that aired,” the letter offers of how the game show previously handled a somewhat similar situation. “This should have been done in this case. Intentional or not, the burden was on the production team to catch the similarity to a hate symbol and make sure it didn’t end up on air.”
The second and lesser of the missteps the letter details happened on Monday when “Kelly responded to a clue with a term for the Roma that is considered a slur.”
In light of the two missteps, the former contestants are asking for “a statement and a disavowal of both of this week’s events” and to see “Jeopardy!” address Donohue’s behavior.
“We know that contestants sign morals and ethics-related agreements when they prepare to appear on the show, and we would ask the production team to evaluate this situation within that framework,” the letter concluded. “Finally, we hope to see changes made so that future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air.”
Representatives for “Jeopardy!” did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
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