icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
29 Apr, 2021 15:45

Jeopardy! alumni say show may incite violence, unless it edits out 'white supremacist' OK gesture shown on air

Jeopardy! alumni say show may incite violence, unless it edits out 'white supremacist' OK gesture shown on air

The popular trivia show Jeopardy! must edit out the moment when a contestant made an OK gesture or face potential “backlash and ramifications” for allowing incitement of white supremacist violence, an open letter said.

The letter, signed by over 500 “former Jeopardy! Contestants” at the time of this writing, dunks on current three-time winner of the game show Kelly Donohue. This week he committed two sins against woke sensibilities, according to the complaint. 

The first minor infraction was responding to a clue using the word “gypsy” – “a term for the Roma that is considered a slur,” the letter reads.

Donohue’s bigger transgression, however, was the way he indicated it was his third game during an episode shown on Tuesday. During the intruduction of contestants, he made a sort of ‘OK’ gesture which, the letter stated, “has been coopted by white power groups, alt right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters.”

Sure, Donohue gestured “1” and “2” in earlier games and publicly said that he only meant to signal “3” and nothing else. But the signatories feel there must be something more behind it, considering that he once used a photo of Frank Sinatra making “a similar gesture” as his Facebook cover picture. But “regardless of his stated intent, the gesture is a racist dog whistle,” the letter claims.

“Most problematic,” the complaint said, is Kelly not making a public apology “for the ramifications of the gesture.”

If something has been misconstrued, an apology and a total disavowal of any connection to white supremacist doctrines is called for.

The signatories allege that the gesture has been hurtful to viewers who belong to “marginalized groups” and already have to deal with “structural and institutional racism, sexism, antisemitism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia” in the US and Canada. Such people face “microaggressions nearly every day of their lives,” and Jeopardy! supposedly added to their suffering.

“We cannot stand onstage with something that looks like hate. We are ashamed to be associated with brands and identities that suffer the taint of hateful statements and actions – particularly if they go unchallenged by those at the top,” the letter stated.

The demand to Jeopardy! is quite simple – the show must digitally alter or reshoot the moments that signatories believe to be offensive. If this is not done, there will be “more attempts to disguise contempt as innocent gesturing” and potentially “backlash and ramifications should one of those moments ever become tied to real-world violence.” 

Also on rt.com White supremacy, or harmless gesture? Oregon police say cop accused of racist hand signal was simply checking protester was OK

The letter wondered if “a sensitivity and diversity auditor” was involved in the show’s writing and expressed hope that changes would be made “so that future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air.”

After the letter was published, Donohue posted a statement on his Facebook page, saying he was “truly horrified” by the accusations and “absolutely, unequivocally” condemning “white supremacy and racism of any kind,” taking a note from critics. He said he hoped that made his position clear and it was “shameful to me to think anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy!” to promote bigotry. 

The idea that the OK gesture secretly means “White Power” originates as as a 2017 4chan hoax meant to troll liberals. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) decided in 2019 that it can actually be regarded as a hate symbol, stating that a white supremacist had been using it unironically.

Also on rt.com 'KKK number behind white power gesture' spotted by Portland protester was actually poster celebrating basketball star

Accusations of racism based on the use of the hand sign have been leveled at various moments, including against a police officer in Oregon, federal employees in Portland, West Point cadets and even a Mexican-American driver in California, who lost his job as a result.

The call to do something about Donohue’s behavior received an approving nod from Vice, a bastion of wokeism. Fact-checking site Snopes, however, is sceptical of the letter’s premise, saying that the gesture the contestant made didn’t even match the one that the ADL considers occasionally white supremacist.

Also on rt.com ‘OK’ is okay: Military probe clears West Point cadets of ‘racist’ motive in hand gestures during football game

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!