Three-time “Jeopardy!” winner Yogesh Raut took to social media to criticize the game show, likening it to a “glorified reality show” and insinuating its viewers are racist.
Raut, a 38-year-old from Vancouver, Washington, first appeared on the game show on Jan. 11, going on to win three games before contestant Katie Palumbo broke his streak.
He left the show with a check for $94,403, but posted multiple, lengthy rants to Facebook knocking America’s love for “Jeopardy!”
The Post has reached out to “Jeopardy!” reps for comment.
Raut began his string of rants with a Jan. 12 post that started by listing his quiz-related accomplishments, including that he finished in the Top 10 of the 2022 LearnedLeague Rundle Championship and won the Quizzing World Cup.
He pivoted to discuss his experience from the game show, saying, “Yet today I’m receiving the most attention, praise, congratulations and nasty trolling from strangers (!) of my life…and for what? What did I do to get the biggest paycheck of my quizzing career? I beat two guys.”
He emphasized and clarified that this post was not meant to be an attack on Connor (Sears) and Andrew (Whatley) — the contestants he beat.
“This is also not an insult to ‘Jeopardy!’ which is a TV show designed for entertainment, and a reasonably good one,” he wrote. “It is entertaining to watch but it bears the same relationship to real quizzing that ‘Holey Moley’ does to golf.”
Raut instead targeted his criticism at the viewers of “Jeopardy!” and how the beloved game show is seen as “the Olympics of quizzing.” He questioned “what it is about ‘J!’ that causes the worst kinds of human beings to be so drawn to it and invested in it. (I honestly don’t know the answer to that; it’s not a bad show, and the people who make it seem fine.)”
The champ compared his win on the game show to a hypothetical chess grandmaster winning top tournaments but is only famous for beating low-ranked players in “a glorified reality show.”
This so-called “non-standard bughouse version of chess,” according to Raut, would merely be “a derivative game designed to introduce high levels of variance that constantly threaten to swamp out differences in skill level, on a glorified reality show.”
“‘Jeopardy!’ is not the problem; its centrality to American society is,” he claimed. “There will never be a healthy quizzing culture in this country until we learn to stop pretending that ‘Jeopardy!’ is important.”
He also noted that everyone at the show treated him “just fine” and that the rant was not about “personal spite.”
“The fact that actual quizzing continues to be a fringe subculture in the shadows is what allowed racists, misogynists and outright sexual harassers to thrive in collegiate quizbowl for so long. It’s the reason unapologetic bigots remain in positions of high power at major pub quiz companies,” Raut continued.
“This also shouldn’t be controversial to say,” he added in another post, “but even I was surprised at the depths of racism exposed by my mere presence on TV.”
He claimed that the show is detrimental to women and people of color who want to be treated as equals to white men, calling out “people who make no effort to learn about my experiences blithely default to an ‘Angry Brown Man with chip on shoulder’ label.”
“‘Jeopardy!’ is a fun TV show but putting it on a pedestal is an objectively bad thing. It’s bad for the future of quizzing,” he said. “It is fundamentally incompatible with incentivizing the next generation of quizzers to excel, and it is fundamentally incompatible with true social justice.”
“Toxic White entitlement, like toxic male entitlement, is real, is genuinely harmful, and is not going anywhere,” he continued. “There’s been a lot of back-patting in the quizzing community recently, talk of how we’re undergoing a ‘reckoning.’ I see no reckoning.”
Raut went on to post six more rants to his Facebook page following the initial one — including one thanking everyone who supported him during his time on the show that stated “Jeopardy!” would “never top the list of my quizzing accomplishments — not even my quizzing accomplishments of 2022.”
The rant was brought to more people’s attention after journalist Megan Greenwald tweeted about it, writing: “I don’t watch Jeopardy, but I am extremely invested in the guy who won three times but was apparently bad on the buzzer, then began a multi-week Facebook meltdown about how Jeopardy is not the REAL quizzing world and compared himself to Muhammad Ali.”
“Jeopardy!” fans and other commenters had mixed responses.
“He’s upset that people are congratulating him for winning a tv show he agreed to be on?” one confused person wrote.
Another replied to the comment, saying, “He’s upset that the most popular/mainstream form of American trivia culture rewards buzzer speed (coincidentally a skill he does not have) as much as, if not more than, actual trivia knowledge.”
“Jeopardy is meant to be entertainment, a concept he couldn’t grasp,” another said.
One even shared a personal anecdote.
“Back when he lived in El Paso, we played against this guy and his team every week. We reliably beat them, and he would get so angry he would literally scream at the scorekeeper at the end of games. One time it got so bad we told the host just to give our win to them out of pity,” the person tweeted.
Former “Jeopardy!” contestant and legend James Holzhauer shared his thoughts on the situation on Twitter.
“Anyone who’s ever used social media to criticize Jeopardy or its producers should get a lifetime ban from the show,” he wrote.
However, some fans weren’t sure if Holzhauer was serious or a joke, considering he had criticized the show and the producers in the past.
“Jeopardy!” boss Michael Davies also responded to Raut’s comments on the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast — defending Raut.
“I like the fact that having been criticized, Yogesh took and defended himself … I would say vigorously and at length,” Davies said. “Here’s the thing, ‘Jeopardy!’ is not prone to criticism. We’re not beyond criticism. You don’t have to come on ‘Jeopardy!’ and say lovely things about the game.”
“Just as I wouldn’t take away the right of people in our viewing community to express things they like or dislike, I wouldn’t ever want to censor a contestant who defends himself,” he continued. “Even if what he or she has to say is not the most flattering to ‘Jeopardy!’ All our contestants deserve respect. It’s very difficult to imagine the pressure you’re under. I think Yogesh made some good points within his lengthy responses.”