Following the death of “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek early this month, former champion Ken Jennings was named on Monday as the first interim host of the popular game show. A perfect selection, given that Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak at 74 of any contestant in the 37-year history of the show, right? Yeah, no.
According to the cancel culture, that is.
Less than 24 hours after the announcement, a questionable 2014 tweet “resurfaced,” in which Jennings wrote: “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”
— New York Post (@nypost) November 25, 2020
Among those doing the “resurfacing” was activist and actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who pronounced “Nope” — apparently believing that by snapping her Twitter fingers, she could cancel-culture Jennings right out the gig, just like that.
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) November 24, 2020
When Brown was asked to elaborate, as reported by Decider, she pointed Twitter users to the tweet and added:
“His tweet was bad enough. But the arrogance or callousness to leave it up says more about him than the horrible tweet does.”
Coupla things. First, Jennings apologized for the tweet in 2018, in response to another Twitter user who was obviously still not over it.
Just read an article about the lack of wheelchair accessibility at concert venues and it reminded me that this tweet still exists and I don’t believe Ken Jennings ever apologized for it and now I’m mad all over again. https://t.co/waMPHPaCXW
— Beverly Turkeycarver (@BvrlyTweetmaker) April 20, 2018
Jennings tweeted that he had apologized personally to people left hurt or angry by the tweet.
“I never did a public flogging thing for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out personally. it was a joke so inept that it meant something very different in my head & I regret the ableist plain reading of it!”
Genuine? Then again, was he deserving of a “public flogging” for the tweet? Or was he just being a smart ass with the “public flogging” comment?
I never did a public flogging thing for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out personally. it was a joke so inept that it meant something very different in my head & I regret the ableist plain reading of it!
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) April 20, 2018
Another Twitter user was upset that Jennings hadn’t deleted the offending tweet.
— Kim Murder Hornet Sauder (@crippledscholar) April 21, 2018
Jennings responded at the time that he wasn’t a fan of deleting “gross” tweets, as if to suggest, “you tweet it; you own it.” Admirable, if true.
“I’m strongly against deleting old tweets, even the gross ones. seems like whitewashing.”
“Strongly against it,” he said.
I’m strongly against deleting old tweets, even the gross ones. seems like whitewashing.
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) April 21, 2018
However, while the tweet was still on Jennings’s Twitter page as of 9:45 ET this morning, it has since been deleted. Perhaps he should’ve written, “strongly against it until it ‘might’ impact my dream job.” (Stay with me, there’s a twist coming.)
The “plot” thickens.
As IndieWire reported late Monday, Jennings’s 2014 tweet is not the only controversial comment he’s made that has sparked a backlash in recent years.
In 2015 he tweeted, “It can’t be a good sign that every fan who has seen the new Star Wars movie died shortly thereafter,” in response to the death of Daniel Fleetwood, a “Star Wars” fan who died of cancer and wanted to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” before his death.
Two years later Jennings was in the spotlight again after responding to then 11-year-old Barron Trump seeing the image of Kathy Griffin holding a bloody Trump mask with “Barron Trump saw a very long necktie on a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster. He thought it was his dad & his little heart is breaking.”
And in 2018 he described an elderly woman mourning her deceased son by saying: “This awful MAGA grandma is my favorite person on Twitter.”
So here’s the question.
Jennings is a liberal and a cocky one at that. And he’s certainly not a fan of Donald Trump.
To all the conservatives who found out today that Tom Morello or Jim Gaffigan don’t share their politics: it’ll be easier to get this done all at once. NOBODY whose work you like shares your politics. You get Kelsey Grammer and that’s it.
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) June 10, 2020
Conservatives — I among them — have rightly called out cancel-culture clowns every step of the way, as we’ve watched them grow ever more brazen. But what about now?
Should we call them out for attempting to cancel Jennings, or should we sidle up to them in this case because of his disgusting comments in reaction to Barron Trump about an even more disgusting display by Hollywood lunatic Kathy Griffin, and his insensitive response to an elderly woman grieving over the death of her son?
I just think I’ll leave this here — and let you guys make the call.