Why One 'Jeopardy!' Winner Blasted the Show's Fans

Jeopardy has become surprisingly divisive on social media in recent years, but the latest attack on the show and its fandom comes from within. Winner Yogesh Raut won three consecutive games of Jeopardy which aired in January. After the broadcasts, Raut wrote about his experience on Facebook, criticizing the show's fandom and its reputation.

Raut won the Jan. 11 episode of Jeopardy and continued his streak through Jan. 16 when he was defeated by Katie Palumbo. He took this loss in stride in his writings, but he did accuse the general audience of the show of racism and ignorance. Raut listed his accomplishments in trivia competitions of "quizzing" outside of Jeopardy, arguing that the game show should not enjoy the reputation it has for being the pinnacle of these types of competitions. He noted that he had finished in the top 10 of the 2022 Learned League Rundle Championship and the Quizzing World Cup.

"Yet today I'm receiving the most attention, praise, congratulations and nasty trolling from strangers (!) of my life... and for what? What did I do to get the biggest paycheck of my quizzing career? I beat two guys," he wrote. Raut would eventually leave Jeopardy with $94,403 in prize money.

Over the course of his commentary, Raut made it clear he wasn't criticizing the contestants he beat nor the one that beat him. He also didn't want to criticize the people who make the show. His main issue was with the Jeopardy! fandom – particularly those making cruel comments about him online. Raut felt that these fans had a bizarre fixation on a single show when the whole wide world of trivia competitions was at their fingertips.

"This is also not an insult to Jeopardy!, which is a TV show designed for entertainment, and a reasonably good one," he wrote at one point. "It is entertaining to watch but it bears the same relationship to real quizzing that 'Holey Moley' does to golf."

Raut argued that there was something insidious about the way die-hard Jeopardy fans perceived themselves, writing: "What is it about [Jeopardy!] that causes the worst kind of human beings to be so drawn to it and invested in it. (I honestly don't know the answer to that; it's not a bad show, and the people who make it seem fine.)" He later argued that the game introduced variables meant to "constantly swamp out differences in skill level, on a glorified reality show."

"Jeopardy! is not the problem; its centrality to American society is," he wrote. "There will never be a healthy quizzing culture in this country until we learn to stop pretending that Jeopardy! is important."

Raut would go on to write that these gripes weren't about "personal spite," but were instead meant to point out systemic issues. He also remarked on the racist comments he received and the misogynistic comments other contestants received. He felt that trivia and quiz competitions in general suffered from their own apparent niche interest.

Raut's posts went viral when they were shared elsewhere on social media, and readers were split over his takes. Many thought he was simply being a sore loser, while others thought that he had valid points about quiz shows in general. Eventually, Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies addressed Raut's comments on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast.

"I like the fact that having been criticized, Yogesh took and defended himself ... I would say vigorously and at length," Davies said. "Here's the thing, Jeopardy! is prone to criticism. We're not beyond criticism. You don't have to come on Jeopardy! and say lovely things about the game. Just as I wouldn't take away the right of people in our viewing community to express things they like or dislike, I wouldn't ever want to censor a contestant who defends himself... I think Yogesh made some good points within his lengthy response."