Twitter convinced ‘Jeopardy’ contestant made white supremacist hand gesture

More than 400 former players are calling on the show's producers to address the incident

A Jeopardy! contestant has been called out by loyal viewers who claim he flashed a white supremacist sign during the player introductions on Tuesday. 

Three-day returning champion Kelly Donohue is catching heat for throwing up an upside-down “OK” sign during his on-camera introduction, Entertainment Weekly reports. The Anti-Defamation League classified the hand gesture as a symbol of hate in 2019 after it became associated with white supremacists.

Donohue hit up social media and said he gestured with three fingers to symbolize the number of games he won — but more than 400 former Jeopardy contestants aren’t buying it. They’re calling on the producers to address the incident and take action so that “future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air.”

Read More: Levar Burton to guest-host ‘Jeopardy!’ following social media campaign

In an open letter published to Medium on Wednesday, the group writes, “A recent contestant has caused concern among Jeopardy! viewers for two separate occurrences, and we as former contestants feel the need to speak out against the messaging that these choices communicated — either intentionally or unintentionally — by the contestant Kelly Donohue and, implicitly by association, the producers of Jeopardy!

The letter goes on to note that the position of Donohue’s fingers “whether intentional or not, resembled very closely a gesture that has been coopted by white power groups, alt right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters.” 

The group wants Donohue to publicly apologize “for the ramifications of the gesture he made” and condemn “white supremacist doctrines.” They also urge the show’s producers to “address Kelly’s behavior.”

One Jeopardy! fan who defended Donohue’s “Ok” hand gesture noted that he flashed similar gestures in prior appearances on the show to indicate his wins.

A Twitter user with the handle @samdman95 added, “when i thought it couldn’t get worse than Dr. Oz hosting, a Jeopardy contestant made a white supremacist hand gesture on air furthermore, when this came to light, kelly donohue refused to denounce white supremacy and has a history of trump donations – this wasn’t an accident.”

A third wrote, “The fact that even a whiff of white supremacist propaganda is now connected to @Jeopardy is profoundly troubling and disappointing, especially given how careful the show normally is about protecting its positive image.”

Read More: Alex Trebek, long-running ‘Jeopardy!’ host, dies at 80

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Donohue said he simply wanted to “count my victories.”

“Many of the great champions of old had a little signature hello they would do on-screen when being introduced by Johnny Gilbert,” he wrote. “I decided to count my victories. That’s a 1. That’s a 2. That’s a 3. No more. No less. There wasn’t a hidden agenda or any malice behind it. Had I managed to repeat as champion, you’d have been treated to a 4.”

Jeopardy! debuted on NBC in 1964 with Art Fleming as emcee and was an immediate hit. It lasted until 1975, then was revived in syndication with late host Alex Trebek.

Trebek, who presided over the beloved quiz show for more than 30 years, died in November at age 80. The Canadian-born host, who announced in 2019 that he had advanced pancreatic cancer, passed away at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by family and friends, theGRIO previously reported.

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