Ken Jennings found himself in a tricky situation.
On last night’s episode of “Jeopardy!” Jennings made a remark about people living in assisted living facilities that offended some viewers, and they were quick to air their grievances on social media.
During the interview portion of the game show, which is currently airing the Champions Wildcard tournament, the host was talking to contestant Jen Jazwinski, who talked about her grandmother.
She said that during one of her previous appearances on the show, she mentioned how important her grandmother was to her and what she had done for her.
“When I did that, her whole house where she lives was watching, and they stood up and gave her a standing ovation during that part of the show,” she told Jennings last night. “So it was a really special moment for her and for me.”
In return, Jennings said, “It’s awesome. And that means a lot in assisted living. Getting up: not easy. . . for all those people, I suppose.
Jazwinski ended up winning the game, but several viewers were left hanging up by Jennings’ remark.
One person tagged “Jeopardy!” » account on X, formerly Twitter, and wrote: “Really? Nothing like a little casual ageism from @KenJennings: Is it hard for people living with assistance to stand up? Disappointed.”
Another viewer said: “@KenJennings criticizes elderly people tonight 9/11/23 by responding to Jen who said residents at her grandmother’s house stood up and cheered her victory. He said they were so old it was hard to stand. He should apologize. @Jeopardy He presents himself as a good Mormon NO.
“You used to be able to laugh at Ken’s joke about assisted living,” mused another. “In the 90s, in my late teens, in my 20s, I would have laughed. Now I have mixed feelings.
One comment read: “@KenJennings just made a joke about people living with assistance and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe so I did both. » To further illustrate their point, they used the hashtags “funny” and “tasteless”.
While some people said the joke was funny, another fan called his comment “newsworthy” and another speculated that the show “might get some letters” because of what he said.
A representative for Ken Jennings did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
“Ken Jennings made another wheelchair joke on Jeopardy tonight lol,” another person wrote, referencing an earlier controversy the former champ experienced years ago.
In 2014, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “Nothing sadder than a sexy person in a wheelchair.”
It didn’t get much attention at the time, but it resurfaced in 2018, and Jennings responded to the backlash by writing, “I never did a public flogging for it, but I did apologized personally to the angry/hurt people who achieved the goal. personally. It was such an inane joke that it meant something very different in my head and I regret this simple and ableist reading!
In 2020, after he announced he would step in as interim host following the death of Alex Trebek, this resurfaced, along with other questionable comments he had made in the past, and Jennings presented deeper apologies.
“Hey, I just wanted to admit that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartistic and insensitive things. Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head, and I was dismayed at how they read on screen,” he began.
“In the past, I usually left bad tweets just so I could get them out there. At least this way they could lead to intelligent responses and even advocacy. To remove them was to whitewash an error. But I think this practice may have led to the impression that I stand by every failed joke I’ve posted here. No way!”
He added: “Sometimes I said stupid things in a stupid way, and I want to apologize to the people who were (rightly!) offended. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter: I made a mistake and I’m really sorry.