A recent winner of “Jeopardy!” who has been implicated for making a hand gesture supposedly affirming his support for “white power” asserted on Thursday the entire situation is a “terrible misunderstanding” and swore that he’s “not a racist.”
Three time Jeopardy champion Kelly Donohue was called out by former contestants for showcasing a three-fingered hand sign which is falsely said to associated with white supremacist groups. He said he meant the gesture to indicate his “third win” and that he’s “horrified” by the mix-up.
“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,” Donohue, who works as a banker from Winthrop, Mass., posted on Facebook Thursday morning.
“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 continued, “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.”
On Wednesday hundreds of previous winners of the game penned an open letter slamming Donohue for two so-called “offensive” occurrences on the program this week.
In the incident “more widely felt” of the two alleged “missteps,” Donohue “held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest,” the letter describes.
The hand signal has been “coopted by white power groups, alt-right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters,” it reads.
In the second mishap that triggered the collection of former champions, “Kelly responded to a clue with a term for the Roma that is considered a slur” on Monday’s program.
Donohue wrote a social media reply to the letter on Wednesday, asserting that the insinuations he is facing were a misunderstanding — before deleting it and releasing a new message on Thursday with a more “forceful condemnation of white supremacy,” he stated.
“I 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,” his new post on Facebook read.
“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,” he said.
Donohue’s response did not confront the “Roma” comment. Spokespeople for “Jeopardy!” have not remarked on the controversy.
The “OK” three figured hand gesture has no roots in “white supremacy,” and has long been debunked as a prank that originated on the website 4chan. The joke started as a meme that indicated the three fingers in the “OK” gesture were a “W” for “white,” and the loop made with the closed thumb and forefinger were a “P,” standing for “power.”
The 4chan pranksters posted this to effectively troll hypersensitive leftists in order to prove they could be tricked into thinking the most mundane symbols had roots in racism and must be stopped.
The internet troll worked too well, resulting in social media sites, notably Instagram and Facebook, banning photos and accounts of anyone making the hand gesture. People have even been fired for doing the gesture to lampoon the left about their hypersensitivity and wild conspiracy theories.
There is no evidence the “OK” sign has ever been used by white supremacist groups.