Tags: jeopardy | kelly donohue | white supremacy | apologize | hand gesture

'Jeopardy!' Contestant Apologizes for Hand Gesture

'Jeopardy!' Contestant Apologizes for Hand Gesture
(Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 30 April 2021 02:11 PM

"Jeopardy! Contestant Kelly Donohue has apologized amid backlash after he made a hand gesture on the show that some associated with white supremacy. 

Donohue made the gesture on Tuesday’s episode. He was on a three-day winning streak and briefly held up three fingers in a symbol resembling an "OK" sign, then held it to his chest, after being introduced. The two days prior he had gestured with one and two fingers to indicate his wins and Tuesday's gesture was no different, Donohue said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

"During the taping of my fourth episode, I was simply raising three fingers to mark my 3rd win. There was nothing more I was trying to indicate," he explained.

Donohue wrote that he was "truly horrified" by what was being posted about him on social media. Critics have named him a white supremacist and in response to the ordeal, nearly 600 people have signed an open letter calling for action. 

"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 letter stated.

"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. We would like to know whether a sensitivity and diversity auditor is involved in the show’s writing. Finally, we hope to see changes made so that future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air."

Donohue insisted that he condemned white supremacy and racism. 

"People who know me personally know that I am not a racist, but for the public at large it bears repeating: I am not a racist and I reject and condemn white supremacy and all forms of bigotry for the evil they are," he wrote. "It’s shameful to me to think anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy! to advance or promote such a disgusting agenda."

Donohue added: "I deeply regret this terrible misunderstanding. I never meant to hurt a soul and I assure you I am no friend of racists or white supremacists."

However, those who signed the open letter stated that, regardless of Donohue's intent, "the gesture is a racist dog whistle."

"Some of the first people to notice this were not affiliated with 'Jeopardy!' in any way — they were viewers who couldn’t believe what they’d seen, captured it on video, and shared it to Twitter," the letter read." Among them were people of color who, needless to say, are attuned to racist messaging and not appreciative that the show allowed this symbol to be broadcast."

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"Jeopardy! Contestant Kelly Donohue has apologized amid backlash after he made a hand gesture on the show that some associated with white supremacy. Donohue made the gesture on Tuesday's episode...
jeopardy, kelly donohue, white supremacy, apologize, hand gesture
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2021-11-30
Friday, 30 April 2021 02:11 PM
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