"Jeopardy!" Fans Turn Off Show Over Contestant's "Disrespectful" Behavior
Aaron Craig rubbed viewers the wrong way.
While games of Jeopardy! can certainly become dramatic thanks to overly ambitious Daily Double wagers and contestants making comebacks during Final Jeopardy!, the show is generally pretty tame when it comes to contestants' behavior. But, one recent episode proved otherwise. On the Friday, Nov. 3 episode of Jeopardy!, contestant Aaron Craig outraged some viewers with what they found to be over-the-top reactions to his own success.
Craig competed against Leah Wiegand and T.J. Tallie as part of the ongoing Champions Wildcard Tournament. He won the game when all three competitors failed to answer the Final Jeopardy! question, from the category "British History," correctly. Because of his wager, Craig was named the winner.
As reported by the New York Post, when Craig won, he began clapping his hands loudly above his head and said what sounded like, "Let's go, chat/Chad! Let's go!" He also blew a kiss into the audience.
His win means that Craig advances to the final round of the tournament. He'll face off against Emily Sands and Jilana Cotter in the Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 episodes.
Viewers who watched the episode took to social media to express their disapproval of Craig's boisterous response to winning. One fan wrote on Reddit, "I turned the TV off after the self-congratulatory behavior. I certainly am not rooting for this guy to win and not even sure if I'll watch the rest of the tournament. I've watched Jeopardy for decades and don't recall seeing such rudeness." Someone else wrote, "The clapping at the end was unnecessary." Another fan shared, "My husband and I looked at each other with mouths agape lol. It was wild." Someone commented, "Liked Aaron too but the 'whoop!' at the end was cringe." One user posted, "That was unsportsmanlike and disrespectful to the other contestants. It was also very cringe."
Tallie also chimed in on Reddit. A viewer posted, "I thought his self-applause was a bit much. And based on the facial expressions, so did at least one other person on stage…." A person who identifies themselves as a fellow competitor wrote back, "I don't know what you mean… ;-)"
Other fans spoke out on X (formerly Twitter). "I was happy to see Aaron doing well until the gloating outburst," reads one post. Another fan posted, "Really kind of embarrassed for Aaron's kids sitting in the #Jeopardy audience, watching their father's boorish, unsportsmanlike behavior." Another X user asked simply, "Is there a more unlikeable contestant than Aaron? #Jeopardy".
On the other hand, some Jeopardy! viewers defended Craig. "Celebrating a win is rudeness?" asked a fan on Reddit. "I'd prefer more contestants celebrate." Another person posted, "So many soft people in here upset with the winner showing some emotion. I honestly didn't care who wins this tournament, but I am fully on team Aaron now and hope he gets to celebrate more." Someone else said, "I don't think he was trying to rub it in; I think he just got so excited that he forgot his manners."
It also appears that Craig himself spoke out about the situation. As reported by TVLine, a Reddit user who identified themselves as the Jeopardy! champion wrote, "TJ and Leah are amazing and lovely and brilliant, and either one would have been a great and deserving winner today. I'm sorry if I got overly excited. I certainly didn't mean to show anybody up, but my kids were there and I couldn't believe that they got to watch me not just play in a semifinal, but win! Anyone who thinks I was over the top, that's 1000% fair. No argument here."
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