Former contestants of the legendary game show ‘Jeopardy!’ have condemned the programme’s decision to allow former US President Donald Trump’s favourite TV doctor Mehmet Oz to host the show over the next two weeks, and has been fueling calls to even boycott the show.
An open letter signed by more than 500 former contestants criticised the move, saying allowing the controversial doctor to host is contrary to everything the knowledge-based program stands for, calling it a “slap in the face to all involved.”
Following the November death of long-time host Alex Trebek, “Jeopardy!” put out a list of substitute hosts such as Katie Couric, Dr Sanjay Gupta and Aaron Rodgers to quiz contestants for cash prizes over several weeks.
Among the guests was Dr Oz, who kicked off his career as a guest medical expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and has since hosted his own daytime television talk program “The Dr Oz Show.” However, he has faced many controversies in the past for allegedly dispensing questionable medical advice.
“Jeopardy! Is a show that values facts and knowledge. 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,” the letter read.
Earlier, Mehmet Oz has been guilty of “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.”
The former contestants also referenced a 2014 letter penned by faculty at Columbia Medical School, where Oz teaches, in which thousands of his colleagues signed a petition to have him removed.
ALSO READ | Frankie Jonas is ‘grateful to be alive’ after struggling with drugs, alcohol overdose
“Dr Oz represents what has become a dubious trend in America: the elevation of the credentialed talking head at the expense of academic rigour and consensus,” the letter posted on Medium said.
Oz kicked off his two-week stretch of “Jeopardy!” episodes Monday.
Meanwhile, alongside the contestants, many viewers also took to social media this week to voice their opposition leading to the hashtag “#BoycottJeopardy” trending on Twitter.