Ken Jennings has landed himself in some hot water.
On last night’s episode of “Jeopardy!” Jennings made a remark about people in assisted living facilities that offended some viewers, and they were quick to air their grievances on social media.
During the interview portion of the game show, which is currently airing the Champions Wildcard tournament, the host was talking to contestant Jen Jazwinski, who spoke about her grandmother.
She said that in one of her previous appearances on the show, she mentioned how important her grandmother was to her and what she’d done for her.
“When I did that, her entire home where she lives was watching, and they stood and gave her a standing ovation during that part of the show,” she told Jennings last night. “So that was a really special moment for her and for me.”
In return, Jennings said, “That’s great. And that means a lot in assisted living. Standing up: not easy . . . for all those people, I would assume.”
Jazwinski ended up winning the game, but several viewers were hung up on Jennings’ remark.
One person tagged the “Jeopardy!” account on X, formerly Twitter, and wrote, “Really? Nothing like a little casual ageism from @KenJennings – it’s difficult for people in assisted living to stand up? Disappointed.”
Another viewer said, “@KenJennings disses the elderly tonight 11/09/23 when responding to Jen who said her grandma’s home residents stood up and clapped at her winning. He said they’re so old hard to stand up. He should apologize. @Jeopardy He promotes himself as a good Mormon NOT.”
“You used to be able to laugh at Ken’s joke about assisted living,” another mused. “In the 90’s as a late teen/20-something, I would of laughed. Now I find myself having mixed feelings.”
One comment read, “@KenJennings just made a joke about people in assisted living and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe so I did both.” To further illustrate their point, they used the hashtags “funny” and “tasteless.”
While some people did say the joke was funny, another fan called his comment “cringeworthy,” and another theorized that the show “may get letters” because of what he said.
A rep for Ken Jennings did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
“Ken Jennings made another wheelchair joke on Jeopardy tonight lol,” another person wrote, which was a reference to a previous controversy that the former champion experienced years ago.
In 2014, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”
It didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, but it resurfaced in 2018, and Jennings responded to the backlash, writing, “I never did a public flogging thing for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out personally. It was a joke so inept that it meant something very different in my head & I regret the ableist plain reading of it!”
In 2020, after it was announced that he would step in as an interim host following the death of Alex Trebek, it resurfaced again, along with some other questionable comments he had made in the past, and Jennings issued a more in-depth apology.
“Hey, I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartful and insensitive things. Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head, and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen,” he began.
“In the past, I’d usually leave bad tweets up just so they could be dunked on. At least that way they could lead to smart replies and even advocacy. Deleting them felt like whitewashing a mistake. But I think that practice may have given the impression I stand by every failed joke I’ve ever posted here. Not at all!”
He added, “Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way, and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended. It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter: I screwed up, and I’m truly sorry.”