AceShowbiz - Three-time "Jeopardy!" winner Kelly Donohue has reacted to the open letter penned by several "Jeopardy!" alums in which they accused Kelly of making a racist hand gesture on the show. Taking to his Facebook account on Thursday, April 29, Donohue insisted that this was a "terrible misunderstanding."
"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," so Donohue wrote on the post. "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 went on saying, "It's shameful to me to think anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy! to advance or promote such a disgusting agenda. 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."
In the statement, Donohue said that he "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."
Explaining why he deleted his previous post, he wrote, "I removed the previous post because the comments were more than I could bear. I stand by the statement itself and you can find it reported in other media. I did, however, understand the fair criticism that I did not include a forceful condemnation of white supremacy in my initial statement. I hope my feelings on that matter are clear now."
This arrives after a group of 467 former contestants of the game show penned an open letter to the show, demanding an apology from the show's producers for not censoring a controversial hand gesture in an episode of the long-running game show. "A recent contestant has caused concern among 'Jeopardy!' viewers for two separate occurrences," the letter read. "We, as former contestants, feel the need to speak out against the messaging that these choices communicated -- either intentionally or unintentionally -- by the contestant Kelly Donohue and, implicitly by association, the producers of 'Jeopardy!' "
The letter referred to Kelly who was captured on camera holding "his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest." The letter noted that that the gesture was extremely similar to the gesture "coopted by white power groups, alt-right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters," adding that such gesture must be censored.
"We know that contestants sign morals and ethics-related agreements when they prepare to appear on the show, and we would ask the production team to evaluate this situation within that framework. Finally, we hope to see changes made so that future mistakes of this magnitude never make it on air," it concluded.
"Jeopardy!" has yet to comment on the matter.