A group of 467 alleged former Jeopardy! participants issued an open letter on Medium Wednesday, demanding an apology from the show producers for not catching a “Jeopardy!” winner allegedly flashing a white power hand gesture.
“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!’” the story said.
On Tuesday, Donohue “held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest.” Donohue claims he was indicating that he’d won three games, and had gestured with one finger and two fingers to indicate previous wins.
However, the third time was not the charm. The Medium story claimed the move was similar to a gesture used by white power groups, alt-right groups, and the anti-government Three Percenters.
“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 Medium letter claimed. “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.”
There were also complaints that Donahue used a slur against the Roma people on the Monday show.
The letter demanded “a statement and a disavowal of both of this week’s events.”
“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.”
Jeopardy! representatives have not yet issued a comment in response to the letter.
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