James Holzhauer Weighs In After 3-Day Jeopardy Champion Goes On Epic Rant About The Show
Jeopardy! is held in high esteem by its fans and former players, and there’s proven to be little tolerance for those deemed to not show the game a proper amount of respect. So it’s no surprise that former three-day champion Yogesh Raut came under fire for absolutely decimating the show in an epic social media rant, after fans accused him of bad sportsmanship following his loss. James Holzhauer had strong feelings about the situation — as did executive producer Michael Davies — with the super-champ calling for a “lifetime ban” of Raut. Let’s break down this latest Jeopardy! drama:
Yogesh Raut Calls Out Jeopardy! In Multiple Facebook Rants
Yogesh Raut, who is apparently a well-known name among the quizzing community, appeared on Jeopardy! beginning January 11, winning $96,403 in three victories before getting beat. Raut rubbed some viewers the wrong way with his confidence, and he was accused of being a sore loser after some thought he refused to congratulate Katie Palumbo after she beat him in his fourth game.
The podcaster from Springfield, Illinois, posted several since-deleted Facebook rants over the course of several days, in which he called Jeopardy! “a glorified reality show” and said (per the New York Post):
[Jeopardy! would] never top the list of my quizzing accomplishments — not even my quizzing accomplishments of 2022.
He furthered those sentiments in other posts, arguing that Jeopardy! is merely entertainment and not relevant in the larger quizzing community. He wrote:
Yet today I’m receiving the most attention, praise, congratulations and nasty trolling from strangers (!) of my life…and for what? What did I do to get the biggest paycheck of my quizzing career? I beat two guys. This is also not an insult to Jeopardy! which is a TV show designed for entertainment, and a reasonably good one. It is entertaining to watch but it bears the same relationship to real quizzing that Holey Moley does to golf.
His issue seemed to be more with the seriousness that Jeopardy!’s fans have for the game than the show itself, as he said several times that his experience on the show was fine. He simply said Jeopardy! doesn’t deserve to be on the pedestal viewers put it on, writing:
Jeopardy has not nor will ever be the Olympics of quizzing. Jeopardy! is not the problem; its centrality to American society is. There will never be a healthy quizzing culture in this country until we learn to stop pretending that Jeopardy! is important.
That was just a fraction of what Yogesh Raut had to say, and it’s not hard to see how the game show’s staunch defenders would take issue with such harsh criticisms.
James Holzhauer Calls For Lifetime Ban
One person who was quick to defend Jeopardy! was James Holzhauer, one of the biggest winners in Jeopardy! history with nearly $3 million acquired since he made his initial appearance in 2019. The professional sports gambler has never been one to hold back when he’s got an opinion on something, and he made a pretty serious suggestion in response to Yogesh Raut’s rants. Holzhauer tweeted:
Anyone who’s ever used social media to criticize Jeopardy or its producers should get a lifetime ban from the show https://t.co/3gOgsASk0kJanuary 24, 2023
Given how much money James Holzhauer has earned as a Jeopardy! champion, and the opportunities it has afforded him — he is now a member of another trivia game show, The Chase — one can see how he might take issue with a fellow champion biting the hand that feeds, so to speak. Raut did win almost $100,000 after all.
James Holzhauer himself, however, hasn't always had complimentary things to say about the show. While it's clear he has much respect for the game, he was vocally critical of disgraced former executive producer Mike Richards and the show’s sloppy search for a permanent host to replace the late Alex Trebek.
Michael Davies Responds To Controversy Surrounding Yogesh Raut
Michael Davies, the EP who came in following Mike Richards’ removal, has even addressed the situation with Yogesh Raut, saying that he liked that Raut defended himself against social media attacks. As far as the contestant’s controversial views on Jeopardy!’s relevance, Davies said on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast:
Here's the thing. Jeopardy! is not beyond criticism. … We don’t make as part of our eligibility requirements that you have to come on the show and you’ve got to say lovely things about Jeopardy!
While he said he does think Jeopardy! serves a “very important public need,” Michael Davies went on to say that he would never want to silence a player who felt the need to defend himself, even saying he felt bad the show doesn’t do more to prepare its contestants for the challenges they may face in regards to social media. He continued:
Just as I wouldn’t take away the right of people within our viewing community to express things that they like and that they don’t like, I wouldn’t ever want to censor a contestant who defends himself, even if what he or she has to say is not always the most flattering to Jeopardy! … I think all of our contestants deserve respect. If you’ve never played this game, if you’ve never been on this stage, I think it’s very difficult to imagine the pressure you’re under, and I think Yogesh made some good points within his lengthy responses.
In regards to a lifetime ban, Michael Davies added that he enjoys a character like Raut and said, “players of that quality will always be welcome on the Alex Trebek Stage.”
Longtime Jeopardy! producer Sarah Foss doubled down on Michael Davies' words, pointing out that with Yogesh Raut being considered the "best of the best," in the quizzing community, as well as a repeat champ with a high earnings total, it's not out of the question that Raut could be invited back. She didn't address James Holzhauer's request directly, but she did note that if Raut would return to Jeopardy!:
You've heard it here first: Michael Davies will welcome that.
While it doesn’t sound like James Holzhauer is going to see justice served the way he wishes, it would make for some pretty interesting television if he and Yogesh Raut faced off sometime in the future! In the meantime, check your local listings to see when to catch Jeopardy! in your area, and also take a peek at our 2023 TV schedule to see what premieres are headed our way soon.