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Interim ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Ken Jennings Slammed Over Old Tweet Lamenting ‘Hot’ Disabled People

Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage via Getty Images

Following the recent death of longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek—who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in early November, the show’s producers announced contestant Ken Jennings will act as interim host when new episode taping begins on November 30.

But the announcement has ignited renewed outrage over an inflammatory, ableist tweet published by Jennings back in 2014.

In it, Jennings posted:

“Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”

@KenJennings/Twitter

Jennings became a central figure in the show’s history after he put together the longest winning streak ever in 2004, when he secured 74 consecutive non-tournament wins and netted $2,520,700 in award cash.

Earlier this year, he won the “Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Timetournament as well.

With all those accolades under his belt, Jennings was the apparent first choice as producers navigated the uncertain future of Jeopardy! after Trebek. The late host helmed the podium for 36 years.

Executive producer Mike Richards had this to say about the show’s next steps:

“Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him.”

“We will honor Alex’s legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers.”

But as for Jennings’ ability to “create a sense of community,” people across Twitter weren’t holding their breath. 

People were outraged by Jennings’ old tweet—which he had never deleted or apologized for—and called him out for it. 

Plenty of people were glad to offer themselves as proof that being “hot” and wheelchair bound was not the saddest thing in the world. 

@sickandboring/Twitter

Some people vowed to boycott a Jennings hosted Jeopardy!.

Despite the backlash, Jennings had still not deleted the 6-year-old tweet nor offered a public apology each time the issue was raised.

He did, however, post a tweet claiming he apologized to individuals affected by his post. 

But people let him know at the time why his supposed private apologies were not enough as well as challenging his claim his original post was an innocent joke that people simply weren’t getting.

Finally, after over six years and numerous drubbings, Jennings deleted the offending tweet sometime before Wednesday afternoon, November 25, 2020.

@KenJennings/Twitter

It’s unclear if an apology or public statement is forthcoming.

Jennings will be one of many temporary hosts until a permanent replacement for Trebek is identified.

Eric Spring

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.