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.
Peep his old tweets and get back to me.
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) November 24, 2020
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.
I never did a public flogging thing for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out personally. it was a joke so inept that it meant something very different in my head & I regret the ableist plain reading of it!
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) April 20, 2018
“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.
Ah, I see @Jeopardy has chosen Ken Jennings as first interim host.
Alex Trebek was it kind, goodhearted man.
Ken is a bully who thinks it's fun to mock people with disabilities.
Then double down when called out instead of apologizing.
Bad choice, Jeopardy. pic.twitter.com/aT6AdP8cbs
— Steven Spohn (Spawn) (@stevenspohn) November 24, 2020
Ken Jennings could delete this tweet right now if he wanted. In the meantime, I recommend against being his fan. https://t.co/jVNCUp0Upm
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) November 24, 2020
I called Ken Jennings out on this tweet years ago but it still stings.
My entire adult life men have told me, "you're hot for someone in a wheelchair"
The desexualization of disabled women & ableist attacks like this are why we struggle. https://t.co/UsIhRtRjwI
— Kristen Parisi (@Kris10Parisi) November 24, 2020
— Mx. Charis Hill ♿ (they/them) (@BeingCharisBlog) November 24, 2020
Pro Crip Tip: Don't hire the guy who said "There's nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair", Ken Jennings, to replace Alex Trebek on Jeopardy. Why? Cuz that shit isn't funny, ableist af, and just plain wrong. Hire a disabled host instead. I mean, I am available.
— Drew Gurza Is Disabled (@DrewGurza) November 12, 2020