'Jeopardy!': Anti-Defamation League Weighs in on Hand Gesture Conspiracy

In late April, Jeopardy! contestant Kelly Donohue came under fire after his hand gesture raised some eyebrows. The hand gesture in question, which involved Donohue placing his thumb and index fingers together while the others were outstretched, had some fans drawing comparisons to a white power symbol. In light of this controversy, several former Jeopardy! contestants penned a letter in which they demanded an apology from the show's producers for airing the moment. Recently, the New York Times published an article in which they shared what the Anti-Defamation League had to say about this controversy.

According to the publication, those aforementioned Jeopardy! contestants reached out directly to the Anti-Defamation League about this matter. In return, the organization's Aaron Ahlquist responded to the group of contestants to say that Donohue's hand gesture did not give them cause for concern. Ahlquist reportedly emailed the group, which published the text of his message, "Thank you for reaching out regarding your concern over a Jeapardy [sic] contestant flashing what you believed to be a white power hand signal. We have reviewed the tape and it looks like he is simply holding up three fingers when they say he is a three-time champion. We do not interpret his hand signal to be indicative of any ideology. However, we are grateful to you for raising your concern, and please do not hesitate to contact us in the future should the need arise."

As viewers might recall, Donohue flashed this controversial hand gesture in what was supposed to indicate his third win on the show (in his two prior appearances, he flashed his fingers to indicate his first and second wins). It wasn't before long that several Jeopardy! fans took to Twitter to share their anger over his gesture, as they believed that it was similar to one that denotes "wp" or "white power." Shortly after this scandal arose, Donohue did address the matter himself. In a post on Facebook, the former Jeopardy! champion wrote that this was all a misunderstanding and that his gesture was simply meant to indicate his wins on the program.

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"I'm truly horrified with what has been posted about me on social media," Donohue wrote. "I absolutely, unequivocally condemn white supremacy and racism of any kind. 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." He added that it was "shameful" to think that "anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy! to advance or promote such a disgusting agenda."