When it comes to Jeopardy master players, it doesn't get much more masterful than the illustrious Ken Jennings. The maven of random trivia, the emperor of "did you know?" facts, Ken Jennings managed to bank $2 million in earnings off the program and won an unprecedented 74 games. Sure, there James Holzhauer went on to beat Ken's record, but there's something about Ken that makes him the most popular "big winner" on Jeopardy.
Ken's managed to turn his Jeopardy stardom into a nice career for himself: the man was a part of the program's "Greatest of All Time" championship, he narrated much of late host Alex Trebek's memoir, The Answer Is... and he even joined the show as a producer, then narrated some categories on the show, and then took over as a guest host after Alex Trebek passed away.
It seemed like all signs were pointing to the "powers that be" at Jeopardy gearing up to make Ken the new face of the long-running game show. However, now there are tons of folks on social media who are highlighting tweets from the trivia King that they are finding unsavory. Ken found himself in hot water when he once tweeted "Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair."
Then in 2015 after a sick Star Wars fan got to see The Force Awakens before they died, Ken tweeted, "It can’t be a good sign that every fan who has seen the new Star Wars movie died shortly thereafter."
Now, folks are getting upset at Ken for standing by "Bean Dad", aka Omnibus podcast co-host John Roderick. If you haven't heard the story here's a TLDR: John made a tweet thread about how he refused to open a can of beans for his 9-year-old daughter for six hours so she could learn how to use a can opener herself.
Twitter was filled with responses to the "Bean Dad" thread, with some people calling John an abusive father and others supporting the fact he wanted to teach his daughter a lesson in self-sufficiency. But Twitter being what it is, is also filled with folks who relish in looking at older tweets of individuals and exposing "cancel-worthy" comments.
It didn't take long for many folks on social media to find tweets from Roderick that they found offensive.
"Bean Dad" ultimately deleted his Twitter account, with some folks on the platform "rejoic[ing]" in the fact that he was "defeated", but that didn't stop Ken Jennings from defending John, stating that Twitter is "dumb" for not understanding the man exaggerates stories to lampoon his own personal "irascibility."
If this reassures anyone, I personally know John to be (a) a loving and attentive dad who (b) tells heightened-for-effect stories about his own irascibility on like ten podcasts a week. This site is so dumb.— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 3, 2021
Ken also addressed the claims that John was "anitsemitic" by tweeting: "If we're word-searching through old tweets now, it's pretty easy to find what he actually thinks about anti-Semitism. On our show he's always the pro-Israel one!"
Twitter believed that Ken's response was an example of the man digging a deeper hole for himself. Some said that it was "the worst response...possible."
yeah, fair enough. how about: there’s no axis where any anti-Semitic screenshot represents any actual opinion I’ve ever heard from him— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 3, 2021
Ken admitted that his "defense" of John probably wasn't well-conceived, but he ultimately stood by the man, stating that the comments he's made online in text form don't accurately represent his honest, IRL opinions.
Although others tried arguing that John's tweets were just jokes that didn't land, that they were clearly written to mock hatred towards "liberal agendas."
They're not *funny* jokes, but they pretty clearly come across as jokes intended to sarcastically mock the anti-Semites who believe those things, like saying "Ah, the liberal media" when pundits fawned over trump's "new presidential tone" for doing the bare minimum.— Frank Mu (@tobefrankwithmu) January 4, 2021
Ken followed up his "pro-Bean Dad" tweets with a "preemptive apology" of sorts for previous things he may have tweeted and/or said that have upset folks in the past. There were lots of individuals who came after him for that, stating that he was attempting to shore up his personal defenses before being possibly offered the full-time position as host of Jeopardy.
The preemptive apology for old tweets before getting the Jeopardy gig. Smart.— Brandon (@FIGJAM2099) December 30, 2020
ken jennings is gonna post his way outta succeeding alex trebek which is truly an amazing bag fumble— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) January 4, 2021
You know, after his tweets last week mocking women in wheelchairs, and now his praise for child starver, vicious antisemite and Holocaust fan "bean dad" John Roderick, I am starting to think Ken Jennings is not a fitting host for Jeopardy.— Howard ✡ (@HowardA_Esq) January 4, 2021
Jeopardy has yet to comment on Ken's online correspondence and the users who vocally expressed their disapproval of his words.