With the final episodes of the late Alex Trebek's run as host of Jeopardy! set to air next week (kicking off with a message from Trebek and wrapping up at the end of the week with a tribute to the beloved host who passed away at age 80 from pancreatic cancer), a number of names have been thrown into the mix as possible permanent host candidates. One of those names is Ken Jennings, U.S. game show record-holder for his 74 consecutive wins on Jeopardy! as well as the amount of cash he pocketed along the way. But while the Master Minds trivia expert may be on tap to serve as guest host starting January 11, it appears he's had a change of heart about some past tweets that could also have a major impact on his chances of hosting the long-running game show full-time.
Over a series of tweets on Wednesday, Jennings explained that his intent was to post jokes and to make people laugh and that he doesn't delete the "bad tweets" with the hope that they could lead to "smart replies and even advocacy." But by the fourth tweet, Jennings did apologize "to people who were (rightfully!) offended" and explained that it was never his intention to offend anyone. Previous social media comments that Jennings has come under fire for include, "Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair" as well as "It can't be a good sign that every fan who has seen the new Star Wars movie died shortly thereafter" (after a dying "Star Wars" fan was granted his wish to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens early).
"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. 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," Jennings posted. "But I think that practice may have given the impression I stand by every failed joke I've ever posted here. Not at all! 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. 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."
Here's a look at the start of Jennings' Twitter thread (and for the record, we want Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton to take the Jeopardy! hosting gig permanently):
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 Jennings (@KenJennings) December 30, 2020