‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Under Fire for Allegedly Using White Power Symbol on Show

Returning 'Jeopardy!' champion Kelly Donohue flashes what looks like a white power symbol. Credit: 'Jeopardy!'

Jeopardy! contestant Kelly Donohue has issued a statement after over 550 former Jeopardy! contestants signed a letter slamming his alleged use of a white power symbol on the trivia show this week.

“I absolutely, unequivocally condemn white supremacy and racism of any kind. 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 in a Facebook post on Thursday.

“It’s shameful to me to think anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy! to advance or promote such a disgusting agenda. 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 said in the post.

On Wednesday, former contestants released an open letter to the show’s production team about the gesture returning champion Kelly made on April 27.

When he was introduced on the show, he made a symbol to show he had won three games but the gesture looked like something else, according to the former contestants.

“He held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest. This, whether intentional or not, resembled very closely a gesture that has been co-opted by white power groups, alt right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters,” the letter stated.

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The letter continued by noting that Jeopardy! producers have previously edited footage out when gestures were deemed unacceptable.

“Intentional or not, the burden was on the production team to catch the similarity to a hate symbol and make sure it didn’t end up on air,” they said.

The former contestants also said they would like to have Donohue publicly apologize for the gesture. The letter made reference as well to Donohue using a slur in reference to the Roma people on Monday’s show that guest host Anderson Cooper corrected.

Social media users also noted his gesture.

@AmieKanna wrote on Twitter: “@Jeopardy Did Kelly Donohue flash a ‘White power’ sign on today’s episode? You may want to screen your contestants better. He used a slur yesterday and @andersoncooper corrected him. Now today again?”
Donohue did not appear on Wednesday’s episode of the trivia game show.

The Wrap reports Jeopardy! representatives were not available to immediately respond to requests for comment.