Ken Jennings Apologized For Problematic Tweets


“I screwed up, and I’m truly sorry.”

You’re probably familiar with Ken Jennings.


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Ken rose to fame after becoming America’s highest-earning game show contestant ever after his 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy!.


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And because he is well known among Jeopardy! fans and the public, Ken was chosen to replace the late Alex Trebek, in this upcoming season as host on Jeopardy!.


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But as his notoriety rose, some of Ken’s old tweets resurfaced. They reportedly range from jokes that are ableist to jokes about date rape.


Eric Mccandless / Getty Images

After the tweets resurfaced, and about a week before his hosting debut, Ken apologized in a five-part Twitter thread.


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“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 said.

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. 1/x

Ken also added he deleted the tweets to make it clear he does not stand by them:

But I think that practice may have given the impression I stand by every failed joke I’ve ever posted here. Not at all! 3/x

“Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way, and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended,” he continued. “It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter: I screwed up, and I’m truly sorry.”

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. 4/x

He ended the thread, saying, “If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should be kinder to one another. I look forward to heading into 2021 with that in mind.”

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should be kinder to one another. I look forward to heading into 2021 with that in mind. 5/x

Some people called out the convenient timing of the apology:

@KenJennings Thanks for the totally insincere apology in the 11th hour because you want a job.

You’ll understand if we boycott Jeopardy if you’re the host.

What is #BoycottJeopardy ?

@KenJennings “Hey, I didn’t know I’d end up hosting Jeopardy! so I want to pretend I’m not the smug asshole I actually am. Thanks.”

@KenJennings The preemptive apology for old tweets before getting the Jeopardy gig. Smart.

And others commended him for taking accountability:

@luxfredom @KenJennings Self Accountability is the opposite of cancelling.

@KenJennings owning his shit and learning from past mistakes is *good* actually. It shows character, and hopefully, indicates a commitment to using his platform ethically and with integrity.

@KenJennings As someone who’s disabled thank you for apologizing and saying what you got to say. I’m against cancel culture and would rather give people a chance to make up for their mistakes instead of trying to cancel or make them go away. So thank you and good luck. And Happy New Year.

You can read the thread in full and responses to his apology here.

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