Contestants wrote that the three-time champion Kelly Donohue used the signal and called out ‘Jeopardy!’ for not addressing what they considered to be an offensive symbol.
A group of former contestants of the popular quiz show ‘Jeopardy!’ spoke out after a winner allegedly flashed a hand-gesture similar to one that has been associated with a white supremacist symbol.
The contestants accused three-time champion Kelly Donohue in an open letter published on Medium of using the signal and called out Jeopardy!’ for not addressing what they considered to be an offensive symbol —regardless of intent.
Donohue, who said he’s a longtime fan of the game show, went on his personal Facebook Wednesday morning to clear the air.
Donohue had previously flashed both 1 and 2 signs with his fingers after each win, symbolizing his victories, and has stated he merely indicated his victories with the gestures.
The former contestants accused Donahue of using a hate group hand signal, similar to a more traditional “OK” sign, saying the position of his fingers was not “clear cut.” Donahue, the group wrote, “held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest.”
But the group is asking the show to exercise more vigilance and to approach delicate situations cautiously to uphold the integrity of the contestants and the show.
“As people whose lives have been largely beneficially impacted by this show and its community, we really hope to see a statement and a disavowal of both of this week’s events, and we would like to see ‘Jeopardy!’ address Kelly’s behavior,” the group added.
“We know that contestants sign morals and ethics-related agreements when they prepare to appear on the show, and we would ask the production team to evaluate this situation within that framework,” they wrote.
“Finally, we hope to see changes made so that future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air.”
Anderson Cooper guest hosted Jeopardy! while the long-running game show finds the person who will replace the legendary Alex Trebek, who died last year after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.