Ken Jennings called out for past insensitive tweets after being named interim 'Jeopardy!' host

Taryn Ryder
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

Ken Jennings is under fire for a past tweet mocking the disabled, just two days after it was announced he will be Alex Trebek’s temporary replacement on Jeopardy!. The comment in question is from 2014 in which Jennings wrote, “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”

Sony Pictures Television revealed on Monday Jennings, a fan favorite who holds the record for the longest winning streak on the show, will kick off a series of interim guest hosts from the Jeopardy! family when production resumes on Nov. 30. Trebek died earlier this month from pancreatic cancer.

After the announcement, actress Yvette Nicole Brown simply commented, “Nope.” When asked by her followers why, she pointed them to Jennings’s old tweet.

Jennings previously apologized for the message. “I never did a public flogging thing for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out personally,” he tweeted in 2018. “It was a joke so inept that it meant something very different in my head & I regret the ableist plain reading of it!”

It’s not the only tweet Jennings is receiving flak for. In 2015, he made an insensitive comment when Star Wars fan, Daniel Fleetwood, died of cancer after getting to screen Star Wars: The Force Awakens early. Jennings wrote, “It can’t be a good sign that every fan who has seen the new Star Wars movie died shortly thereafter.”

Jennings hasn’t addressed the renewed backlash.

It has been a big week for the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time winner. On Tuesday, Jennings received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Spoken Word Album for his co-narration of the audio version of Trebek’s July book, The Answer Is...: Reflections of My Life. The two remained close ever since Jennings first appeared on the game show in 2004.

Yahoo Entertainment reached out to Sony Pictures Entertainment for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

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