NBC Under Fire For How They’re Describing The New Jeopardy! Champ

By Michileen Martin | 2 weeks ago


You expect certain TV shows, movies, musicians, or celebrities to be magnets for public quarrels. And let’s be honest — for many of them, the controversy is the point. But you wouldn’t think a trivia game show would be as much the hotbed of controversy as Jeopardy! has proven to be since the passing of Alex Trebek. The difference is this time it isn’t a Jeopardy! host or even the show itself that is the target of public ire. Nope, sorry guys! You can’t blame Mayim Bialik for this one. This time it’s NBC News that’s in the hot seat for their choice of words in describing the new champion, Mattea Roach.

As the New York Post reported, on Monday NBC News posted a story about Mattea Roach’s Friday Jeopardy! win. When the story was promoted on NBC News’ Twitter feed, the caption began with referring to the champ as a “23-year-old lesbian tutor.” You can see the tweet below.

The post had a lot of fans on Twitter wondering exactly why Roach’s sexual orientation is not only included in the caption, but one of the first things mentioned. In fact, if you go to the actual story, the headline calls Roach the game show’s “latest LGBTQ phenom.” So, it’s not like asking about the mention isn’t a valid question.

Nor was it just fans who took issue with the tweet about the Jeopardy! champ. Plenty of journalists — many of whom are regarded well enough in their profession to have the coveted blue checkmark on Twitter — responded negatively to NBC News’ tweet. Here are just a few of them.

Interestingly, NBC News’ tweet remains. Usually in cases like this — especially when it comes to an organization as big as NBC News — the tweet goes down, an apology goes up, and folks like us can only tell you about a tweet “that has since been deleted.” But three days after the tweet, and you can still very easily find the unchanged post about Jeopardy! champ Mattea Roach.

The fact that the Jeopardy! related tweet remains could have something to do with not everyone agreeing that the tweet was offensive. As TV Line points out, not everyone is railing against NBC News. In fact, many argue that the caption and headline are important because it helps LGBTQ representation.

In fact, one tweet that doesn’t wade at all into the question of whether or not the NBC News tweet was offensive seems to drive home the point that representation matters. The Jeopardy! fan doesn’t mention NBC News or the offending post. He’s just happy for Roach’s continued victories and wants to see more.

Regardless of anyone’s tweets, Mattea Roach is having a spectacular run on Jeopardy! So far her total winnings of $320,081 represents the most money ever won on Jeopardy! by a Canadian contestant, and her current number of wins — 17 as of Thursday afternoon EST — puts her among those Jeopardy! super champs on the top 10 list of winners. She’s just behind David Madden and Jason Zuffranieri, who each won 19 games.