Posted on May 3, 2021

‘Jeopardy!’ Slammed for Winner’s Alleged White Power Hand Gesture

James Hibberd, Hollywood Reporter, April 29, 2021

Jeopardy! winner’s hand gesture from Tuesday night’s show has sparked a protest by former contestants demanding an apology from producers.

A group of 467 purported former participants on the show posted an open letter on Medium on Wednesday accusing the syndicated game show’s producers of failing to catch what they allege is a white power hand gesture.

On Tuesday, when winner Kelly Donohue was introduced as having won three games, he “held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest,” the letter noted.


Donohue countered on Facebook that the gesture was only meant to confirm he had won three games, and noted he had previously flashed one finger, and then two, during his introductions for his earlier respective games.

But when he did three fingers following his third win, he made a gesture similar to the “OK” symbol made by a right-wing militia group called the Three Percenters that has also been co-opted by white power groups. The former contestants say the popular game show’s producers should have recognized how the gesture could be interpreted and prevented it from ever being shown on the air.

“This gesture was not a clear-cut symbol for the number three,” the letter said. “Regardless of [Donohue’s] stated intent, the gesture is a racist dog whistle. Some of the first people to notice this were not affiliated with Jeopardy! in any way {snip} Among them were people of color who, needless to say, are attuned to racist messaging and not appreciative that the show allowed this symbol to be broadcast. … It was perceived by people across demographic boundaries as a wink and a nod by white men about their superiority. {snip}”