Jeopardy Temp Host Ken Jennings Under Fire For Old Ableist Tweet

Ken Jennings, the current interim host of famed game show Jeopardy!, has come under fire for an old tweet that takes an ableist stance. Jennings is widely known as the all-time greatest contestant on the game show, with winnings totaling $2.5 million and a spectacular 74-game winning streak.

What’s more, Jennings was somewhat close to beloved former Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and as such has earned a special place in the hearts of the show’s fans. Trebek passed away recently at the age of 80 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Though Trebek’s passing leaves some impossibly big shoes to fill, the show has moved ahead with efforts to find temporary hosts before ultimately settling on a new, permanent host. There have been rumors that Jennings could end up as Jeopardy!’s host, given his familiarity with the show, as well as already having been hired on as a consultant. As things currently stand, Jennings has been given the green light to guest host the game show (among others) before the final decision is made as to who Trebek’s successor will be.

Related: Jeopardy: Greatest Of All Time Contestants & Rules Explained

Many Jeopardy! fans feel great about the possibility of Jennings taking over the show on a permanent basis, given his past connection to the series while Trebek was alive. But Jennings currently finds himself in hot water after an old tweet of his has come back to rear its head. The ableist tweet, as pointed out by The Wrap, was first tweeted by Jennings in 2014 and stated that there is “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.” Though Jennings apologized for the tweet, he has never bothered to delete it.

Unsurprisingly, Jennings’ ableist statement isn’t going over well with a wide variety of people – including some Jeopardy! fans. In fact, some fans have even pledged to not watch Jeopardy! as long as Jennings is the host. It’s a trial by fire situation for Jennings, who is having to learn very quickly that in the age of social media, what those in the public eye say can quickly become detrimental to one’s career. Also troubling about Jennings’ statement is that it runs contrary to the person that Trebek was. Throughout his entire career as the host of Jeopardy! Trebek built up a reputation for kindness and professionalism. The idea of the late host being involved in anything at all like what Jennings is now going through seems impossible.

Jennings has previously referred to his ableist tweet as a joke, but the truth of the matter is that there’s nothing resembling humor in it. And while Jennings couldn’t have known in 2014 that he would one day be in a situation where he was being considered as the new host of Jeopardy!, the fact that he didn’t delete the tweet after its initial backlash makes any apologies he might now offer feel insincere. It won’t be at all surprising if Jeopardy! decides to pass on Jennings’ involvement as a result of this, but if they do, the all-time Jeopardy! champ will have no one to blame but himself.

Next: James Holzhauer Should Host Jeopardy When Alex Trebek Retires

Source: The Wrap

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