Following the death of iconic Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, a series of rotating guest hosts have been filling in until the game show staple finds a permanent replacement, which is, obviously, no easy task, given the beloved Trebek’s tenure that’s been a core element of Jeopardy!‘s appeal for decades. While the guest hosting process has gone over relatively smoothly, the situation hit its very first major controversy thanks to the decision to give Dr. Mehmet Oz a two-week stint that began on Monday. Due to his well-documented history of peddling questionable medical “cures,” Oz’s presence has not gone over well with Jeopardy! fans or its former contestants, who feel the TV doctor tarnishes the show’s sterling reputation for valuing “facts and knowledge.”
In an open letter to Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, over 600 former contestants have signed on to the written notice that details how Dr. Oz is a significant detriment to the show and its audience. Via Medium:
Throughout his nearly two decades on television he has used his authority as a doctor to push harmful ideas onto the American public, in stark contrast with his oath to first do no harm. These ideas include promoting supplements that do nothing, legitimizing gay conversion therapy (which is banned in California, as well as 19 other states), dangerous “cures” for autism, and, most recently, the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. None of these things is backed by any scientific fact and by promoting them he is actively putting his viewers in danger. In fact, his ideas are so dangerous that thousands of his colleagues have petitioned to have him fired from his position at Columbia Medical School. And what kind of message does this send to the LGBTQ+ and autistic contestants and viewers of Jeopardy!?
After championing Jeopardy! for its proud tradition of promoting science and learning, the letter ends with a blunt message on how Dr. Oz goes against everything the show has stood for. “We’ve seen writers and judges frantically cross-reference answers in real time to make sure that the facts are accurate. To then invite Dr. Oz to guest-host is a slap in the face to all involved.”