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‘Jeopardy!’ interim host Ken Jennings once tweeted that people in wheelchairs are ugly

Disability advocates are slamming the resurfaced 2014 tweet.

Nov 24, 2020, 3:57 pm

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Siobhan Ball

After the death of longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, the winner of this year’s Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament Ken Jennings was announced as the interim host. But the news brought scrutiny to Jennings and a 2014 tweet in which he wrote, “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”

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The tweet received a flood of reposts on Tuesday as people pointed out the gross discrimination of the comment, which implies that people in wheelchairs can't be attractive.

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Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.
Ken Jennings

The tweet wasn't well received at the time it was posted, either. Even though a few outlying commenters found it funny, the vast majority were disgusted and called Jennings ableist.

@KenJennings  I can't even express how awful this is
Ken Jennings
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@KenJennings  What is ACTUALLY sad is a $10million trivia machine with a 10¢ soul.
@jmotivator
@KenJennings  For someone so "smart," this is a ridiculous discriminatory thing to say. You have no respect for others; I have none for you.
@jmotivator
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The tweet has resurfaced a few times over the years with disability activists popping back in to slam Jennings about the offensive take on people in wheelchairs.

"Nothing sadder than a genius who is ignorant," one Twitter user wrote in 2017.

I’m just wondering what went through your mind as you typed and tweeted that horrible statement. Why would you say something so stupid and cruel?
@JaimeSeaton
Nothing sadder than a genius who is ignorant - sincerely, hot girl in a wheelchair who gets more action than you
@JaimeSeaton
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Now that he's been named the interim host of Jeopardy!, the tweet is receiving a new level of attention as Twitter users work to remind the public of his ableist past. "I called Ken Jennings out on this tweet years ago but it still stings," one user wroe. "My entire adult life men have told me, 'you're hot for someone in a wheelchair.'

I  called Ken Jennings out on this tweet years ago but it still stings.  My entire adult life men have told me, "you're hot for someone in a wheelchair"  The desexualization of disabled women & ableist attacks like this are why we struggle.
@Kris10Parisi
Just remember, this is the kind of ableism they picked to host Jeopardy after Trebek died.
@Kris10Parisi
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I feel this needs to be resurfaced as this is the guy that's been chosen to take over as  @Jeopardy  new interim host Face vomitingFace with rolling eyes♿
@QueerCan'tHear

Many Twitter users suggested Jennings shouldn't be allowed to host the show. Former Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton has been a commonly suggested pick for the full-time hosting job.

Who is not a good candidate to host Jeopardy?
@QueerCan'tHear
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Is this real life? Another reason #LevarBurton is the man for the job! #Jeopardy
@NateHillShow

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*First Published: Nov 24, 2020, 3:57 pm