Former ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestants Raise Concerns After Player Appears to Use White Power Sign
Kelly Donohue allegedly flashed a hand symbol resembling the white power sign while competing on the show.
Now, other Jeopardy! contestants are calling for action and an apology. In the letter they also mention Donohue’s response for one of the clues which included a slur against the Roma people.
Intentional or not, guest host Anderson Cooper corrected Donohue, but the moment wasn’t edited to keep the term “gypsy” off the air.
“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 letter begins.
The biggest issue raised regards Donohue’s alleged use of the white power sign which is associated with racist supremacist groups. During his appearance in the April 27 episode, the former contestants stated he “held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest.”
Donohue claimed in a since-deleted Facebook post that the gesture was a symbol signifying his three-day winning streak, noting he had done it after his first and second wins. And while it might be a valid explanation, the letter questions why Jeopardy! producers didn’t wipe the brief segment from the episode before airing it, noting it could have prevented the show’s association to such symbols.
“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 pointed out.
“This should have been done in this case,” they argue. “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.” Ultimately, the letter wishes Donohue would offer a more genuine apology and asks that the show’s producers be more mindful moving forward.
“We hope to see changes made so that future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air,” the letter stated. Over 500 former competitors signed the statement, acknowledging that their views on the matter concerning Donohue and production are the same. Jeopardy! has yet to issue a response.
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