‘Jeopardy!’ Star Under Fire for ‘Tasteless’ Joke About the Elderly

Ken Jennings has landed himself in some hot water.

On last night’s episode of “Jeopardy!” Jennings made a remark about people 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 spoke about her grandmother.

She said that in one of her previous appearances on the show, she mentioned how important her grandmother was to her and what she’d done for her.

“When I did that, her entire home where she lives was watching, and they stood and gave her a standing ovation during that part of the show,” she told Jennings last night. “So that was a really special moment for her and for me.”

In return, Jennings said, “That’s great. And that means a lot in assisted living. Standing up: not easy . . . for all those people, I would assume.”

Jazwinski ended up winning the game, but several viewers were hung up on Jennings’ remark.

One person tagged the “Jeopardy!” account on X, formerly Twitter, and wrote, “Really? Nothing like a little casual ageism from @KenJennings – it’s difficult for people in assisted living to stand up? Disappointed.”

Another viewer said, “@KenJennings disses the elderly tonight 11/09/23 when responding to Jen who said her grandma’s home residents stood up and clapped at her winning. He said they’re so old hard to stand up. He should apologize. @Jeopardy He promotes himself as a good Mormon NOT.”

“You used to be able to laugh at Ken’s joke about assisted living,” another mused. “In the 90’s as a late teen/20-something, I would of laughed. Now I find myself having mixed feelings.”

One comment read, “@KenJennings just made a joke about people in assisted living 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 did say the joke was funny, another fan called his comment “cringeworthy,” and another theorized that the show “may get letters” because of what he said.

A rep 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, which was a reference to a previous controversy that the former champion experienced years ago.

In 2014, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”

It didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, but it resurfaced in 2018, and Jennings responded to the backlash, writing, “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!”

In 2020, after it was announced that he would step in as an interim host following the death of Alex Trebek, it resurfaced again, along with some other questionable comments he had made in the past, and Jennings issued a more in-depth apology.

“Hey, I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartful and insensitive things. Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head, and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen,” he began.

“In the past, I’d usually leave bad tweets up just so they could be dunked on. At least that way they could lead to smart replies and even advocacy. Deleting them felt like whitewashing a mistake. But I think that practice may have given the impression I stand by every failed joke I’ve ever posted here. Not at all!”

He added, “Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way, and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended. It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter: I screwed up, and I’m truly sorry.”

5 thoughts on “‘Jeopardy!’ Star Under Fire for ‘Tasteless’ Joke About the Elderly

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  1. A bit touchy, I’d say. I’m 77. I still live at home with my sweet wife who is also 77. We often find it slightly difficult standing up after sitting for a while and we are in remarkably good health. Many of our friends can’t live by themselves because they lack the strength to be on their feet for any length of time.We watched the show and were not offended in the least. Who were these crybabies that were offended? To them I say, “Get a life, because the one you have is too busy being cranky to enjoy it.

  2. I’m 74 and although i missed that Jeopardy I did read the article I wouldn’t have found that joke offensive at all…i would have agreed because its true as we age we do change quite a bit…Actually if you think about it, it was kind of a compliment…because it may have taken a lot for some of those elderly ones to stand up and it was an accomplishment on their part to stand up to show their interest in this woman’s granddaughter…KUDOS…to those who did stand up and even to those that weren’t able because of their different circumstances. Why is everyone today so touchy when this world is in such a mess.

  3. I am 94 years old !!!!i do not take offense to his remark !! in fact I burst out laughing !!!What has happened to our country !!!!! Shame on you for degrading his statement !!!Maybe that is why i am old I laugh alot and tell things on myself and get laughs a LOT !!!Sir do not think for one second you did anything wrong !!!Keep your personality and you will be alive alot longer !!!my email is ccurtis8@cox.net ………

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