‘Jeopardy’ Contestant Kelly Donohue Condemns White Supremacy After 3-Finger Gesture Controversy
Jeopardy contestant Kelly Donohue issued a statement condemning white supremacy and apologizing for the misunderstanding that arose following his hand gesture on Jeopardy last week.
Donohue flashed a hand signal on the episode during his on camera introduction resembling the “ok” sign. According to the Anti-Defamation League, that hand gesture has been co-opted by multiple far-right and white supremacist groups.
Following the episode, more than 450 former Jeopardy contestants signed an open letter calling on the show to address the incident as backlash against Donohue grew on social media. The letter called the gesture a “racist dog whistle.”
“This, whether intentional or not, resembled very closely a gesture that has been coopted by white power groups, alt right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters,” the letter said. “We cannot stand up for hate. We cannot stand next to hate. We cannot stand onstage with something that looks like hate. We are ashamed to be associated with brands and identities that suffer the taint of hateful statements and actions – particularly if they go unchallenged by those at the top.”
Donohue claimed in a statement posted on Facebook that he was simply raising three fingers to indicate his third win. In his previous episodes, he raised one and two fingers respectively.
“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 wrote. “I deeply regret this terrible misunderstanding. I never meant to hurt a soul and I assure you I am no friend of racists or white supremacists.” He added that he deleted the earlier post “because the comments were more than I could bear.”
Donohue wrote a statement defending himself that has since been deleted. He posted another statement on Thursday.
“I did, however, understand the fair criticism that I did not include a forceful condemnation of white supremacy in my initial statement,” Donohue concluded. “I hope my feelings on that matter are clear now.”
I’m truly horrified with what has been posted about me on social media. I absolutely, unequivocally condemn white…
“I’m truly horrified with what has been posted about me on social media. I absolutely, unequivocally condemn white supremacy and racism of any kind,” Donohue wrote on Thursday. “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. It’s shameful to me to think anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy! to advance or promote such a disgusting agenda.”