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“Jeopardy” co-host Ken Jennings elicited criticism from fans of the show after they felt he favored a male competitor over a female one.
On Wednesday’s airing of the show, incumbent champion Luigi de Guzman was competing against contestant and retired lawyer Harriet Wagner. When Guzman was asked to identify a “19th-century landscape by this British painter,” he responded, “Constant.”
Jennings prompted, “Say it again” and de Guzman immediately corrected himself. “I’m sorry. Constable. Who is Constable.”
“Constable is correct, yes. That takes you to $6,200,” Jennings responded.
But later in the show, the answer given by the board was “Mythcon 19 in 1988 had as a guest of honor this ‘Always Coming Home’ fantasy author and was held in Berkeley, her birthplace.”
“Who is Angela LeGuin,” Wagner answered, prompting Jennings to react, “No,” before Wagner immediately corrected herself: “Ursula Leguin.”
After de Guzman then gave the correct answer, Jennings turned to Wagner, explaining, “Yes, Harriet, you remembered that her name was Ursula but I had already begun ruling against you when you corrected yourself.”
— CNN (@CNN) September 16, 2022
According to the official Jeopardy rules, “Contestants may change their responses as long as neither the host nor the judges have made a ruling.”
Some people had an angry response on social media to the controversy.
“So on #Jeopardy one contestant can correct an answer and another cannot? Come on Ken, that just isn’t right,” on said.
Another added, “Gosh, Jeopardy – why not have a certain amount of time to answer? Harriet answered her revised answer of Ursula … as quickly as Luigi was allowed to correct his response from Constant to Constable a few minutes earlier.”
“Yup. They didn’t give it to her, but gave it to him. Pure bias. It’s not right. I think if they screw up the answer, that should be it. Otherwise, it’s favoritism,” one commented.
Another said, “@Jeopardy you gave Luigi the chance to correct himself when he got Constable wrong [and] said Constant yet when Harriet said the wrong name for LeGuin [and] corrected herself you didn’t let that slide. Do better [and] play fair.”
And one took aim at Jennings in a different way:
Ken Jennings is a misogynist bigot. Always has been.
— 🌸 Deb H 🌸 (@deb_h7) September 16, 2022
Jennings is no stranger to controversy. In August 2018, a woman named Diana who had MAGA in her Twitter bio and whose disabled son died at age 24 spoke of her happiness when the 1980s sitcom ALF looked like it might be revived, as she said it had been a favorite of her son’s when he was a young child.
She tweeted, “ALF was my son’s favorite character. He had so many ALF puppets. When he died we buried them together and had an ALF engraved into his head stone. Then my daughter got an ALF tatoo in honor of her brother. No matter what, ALF is special to our family.”
Jennings then mocked her on Twitter: “This awful MAGA grandma is my favorite person on Twitter.”
This awful MAGA grandma is my favorite person on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/mQri5Pofet
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) August 5, 2018
Diana, whose son Timothy died after falling at a group home where he resided, told the Jason Rantz Show, “Having just seen the tweet it just makes me feel violated. I don’t understand why he would choose me as a Target. I don’t even know the man. But he doesn’t know anything about me other than the fact that Alf was a favorite character in my home for very sentimental reasons.”