Why This 4-Year-Old Tweet From Ken Jennings Is Causing Backlash

Why This 4-Year-Old Tweet From Ken Jennings Is Causing Backlash

11/24/2020

An ableist comment from Jeopardy champ has resurfaced, causing backlash from the disabled community.

Photo by Jeopardy Productions via Getty Images

Over the course of his career, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek has made one thing clear: he never intended the popular trivia show to stop if he wasn’t able to host anymore. Since his death from pancreatic cancer a few weeks ago, rumors have been flying about who might replace him, either as an interim or permanent host.

The most obvious name thrown around has been Ken Jennings, the 74-game streak, $2.5 million dollar winner who also recently claimed the title of “Jeopardy” GOAT in a recent tournament. Given that Jennings recently signed on a consultant, it’s no surprise that the show has announced he’ll be the first in a series of guest hosts to lead “Jeopardy” before a permanent replacement for Trebek is confirmed.

Jennings clearly has all the makings of a good host: he knows his material, he was close with Trebek during his time on the show, and he now has experience working behind the scenes. But that doesn’t mean everyone is on board with his new gig. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown spoke out about her feelings towards “Jeopardy’s” host choice, replying with “nope” to the news and bringing up some four year old baggage.

For context, here’s what Brown is referring to: Back in 2018, Jennings apparently made an ableist tweet where he noted that there was “nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.” Despite the fact Jennings followed up on the tweet, citing it as not being intentionally harmful, he never deleted it. And now, thanks to the tweet resurfacing, he’s coming under fire from the disabled community for his comments.

“Not sure I’ll be able to watch Jeopardy after learning what an ableist-trash heap Ken Jennings is,” tweeted Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress. She’s not alone in her thoughts. See more reactions to Jennings’ tweet below.

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