Jeopardy Gets Backlash Over ‘Woke’ Question About Pronouns

Source: Flickr/IMB Research / Adobe Stock

‘Jeopardy!’ apparently created a bit of an uproar on social media this week after a controversial clue regarding pronouns was used in Monday’s episode.

It reportedly did not hinder the progress of the show or raise any alarms on-camera with the contestants. However, a substantial number of reactions posted online via social media shared a more oppositional narrative.

Neopronouns Highlighted As ‘Parts of Speech’ In A $600 Clue

The category in question that contained the controversial clue was “Speech! Parts of Speech” on the episode that aired Monday night. A contestant selected the $600 clue and received the clue of “xem, xyrs, xemself.”

Source: Flickr/Jo Zimny Photos

One of the contestants responded by saying, “What are pronouns?” Moments later, host Ken Jennings awarded the contestant with the money and confirmed the correct answer of “pronouns” or “neopronouns.”

Former ‘Jeopardy!’ Fan Says They Are ‘Never Watching’ The Show Again

One former fan of the longtime game show wrote on X/Twitter that they are “done” with the show and “never watching that effing show again.” Another responded by highlighting that you apparently “need to be able to keep up with whatever bull the wokes are coming up with” to win at Jeopardy.

Source: Pixabay

Referring again to the “woke” population, another online complaint regarding the controversial “Jeopardy!” clue read that the “woke crowd has claimed another.” The same person added that he would just turn to his “King James Bible to read” since “like God, that will never change.”

Some Fans Claimed That Alex Trebek Is ‘Spinning In His Grave

Quite a few comments apparently referenced the former host and late celebrity Alex Trebek in their comments. Some implied that Trebek would not have been favor of those types of questions being asked on the show.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

One person commented that the show staff “didn’t waste time making Alex start spinning in his grave.” Another commenter simply stated that “Jeopardy died with Alex Trebek.”

Other Fans Found Clue ‘Exciting To See’, ‘Don’t Really Get The Outrage’

Not all of the comments and messages related to the “Jeopardy!” clue about neopronouns were negative in nature. There were quite a few supporters that shared positive messages applauding the show staff for adding that clue into the mix.

Source: X/Gender and Society

One person posted that it was “probably silly” of them but seeing the clue aired on the episode “was so exciting” to them – highlighting that “it wasn’t treated like a joke.” Another wrote that they didn’t “really get the outrage” surrounding the clue. They acknowledged that it was a “good question” since “those are a confusing example of pronouns” that most people would take a lot of time to identify as parts of speech.

What Exactly Are ‘Neopronouns?’

Most grade school students have been taught for years about common personal pronouns – such as she/her/hers or he/him/his. These were defined as the primary references people used for themselves and others each day based on their gender identity.

Source: Pixabay/PDPics

Many non-binary people choose to identify by they/them/theirs as their common pronouns instead. However, there is also a separate category known as “neopronouns” that ultimately reflect personal identities. Examples of neopronouns also include ze/zir/zirs, xe/xir/xirs as well as fae/faer/faers.

The History Of Gender-Neutral Pronouns

The term “neopronouns” may suggest that the existence of gender-neutral pronouns is a recent development. However, there are records of gender-neutral pronouns that date back several centuries ago.

Source: Pixabay/Markus Winkler

For instance, the Old English gender pronouns of “heo” and “he” were used in the 12th century and eventually led to the addition of the feminine pronoun “she” to the list. William H. Marshall recorded the gender-neutral pronoun “ou” in 1789. The gender-neutral pronoun “thon”, which was designed as a contraction of “that one”, was recognized in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary from the mid-1930s to the early 1960s.

‘Jeopardy!’ Criticized For Culturally Insensitive Answers Back In 2021

This is not the first time that the popular game show has made headlines with an overwhelming response to controversial clues and responses. For instance, more than 200 previous contestants criticized the show’s producers in April of 2021 with accusations of promoting culturally insensitive answers.

Source: Pixabay/Dan Novac

The backlash sparked after a contestant responded with what was considered a pejorative term by the Romani people. It was historically viewed as a racial slur and led to hundreds of previous contestants collectively signing a public letter that targeted the producers for fostering that type of situation.

An Easy Final Clue About ‘The’ Trademark Once Led To Public Outrage

Another instance that did not go over well with “Jeopardy!” fans in 2021 occurred when a particular final clue was viewed as far too easy for the contestants. The final clue referenced the infamous attempt of The Ohio State University to trademark the word “the” for merchandising purposes.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/The Ohio State University

Apparently, the backlash came from the fact that the prevalent medica coverage surrounding this particular news story essentially made it common knowledge for the contestants. Harsh critics did not take very long to dive into social media by taking verbal shots at the show’s writers.

The Moment When Neither Contestant Recognized A Lincoln Quote

In addition to the scandals and simple clues, there was another “Jeopardy!” episode that sparked a lot of negative responses from fans and critics for a different reason. In a Mayim Bialik-hosted episode, a question from the category “Quotations” asked for the source of the quote, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Source: Pixabay/Mark Thomas

None of the three contestants apparently knew that the original source of the quote was former President Abraham Lincoln. The quote became a popular phrase from his noteworthy Gettysburg Address – which plenty of fans and critics highlighted in their harsh remarks on social media after the episode aired.

The Scandal Of Offensive Tweets Posted By Host Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings may not have been the person responsible for writing the “woke” clue about pronouns. However, he did stir a lot of controversy for himself in the past with old tweets featuring offensive statements that did not go over well with the “Jeopardy!” fanbase.

Source: thefederalist

The resurfacing of those tweets muddied the waters for a while after Alex Trebek passed, causing many to question whether the show would use Ken Jennings as a replacement host at all. Focus groups were reportedly not very happy with Jennings after the ordeal. Fortunately, feedback improved after Jennings was allowed to share hosting duties with Mayim Bialik until he was finally selected as the primary permanent host.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

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