‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Call for Boycott of Show While Dr. Oz Guest Hosts

by Suzanne Halliburton

Jeopardy! fans are calling for a boycott and former contestants are protesting the choice of Dr. Mehmet Oz as a guest host for the beloved quiz show. They say his presence taints the sanctity of the program.

Fans are posting on social media, asking folks to switch channels when the heart surgeon turned TV host begins his two-week stint on Jeopardy!

Here’s a sample of a tweet calling for a Jeopardy! boycott. “Dr. Oz is a schizer, a schill and a dangerous snake oil salesman. The biggest slap to the face of Alex Trebek’s memory that I could imagine. I love Jeopardy but, this week? I’ll #BoycottJeopardy

Another tweeted: “Dr. Oz is guest hosting Jeopardy. Categories will include: 1) Doctors Without Ethics 2) TV Surgeons Who Might Be Unlicensed 3) Physicians Your Nana Thinks Are Sexy 4) Attention Addicts Who Would Endorse Placebos 5) Malpractice Suits Waiting To Happen 6) Creepier Than Dr. Phil”

How about another? “Just when I think there’s nothing that can unite us, our shared hatred of Dr. Oz’s hosting stint on Jeopardy gives me hope.”

Why a boycott? Fans question the choice of Oz because in the past, he’s pushed some questionable information ranging from diets to COVID-19.

Former Jeopardy! Contestants Posted a Protest Letter Against Dr. Oz As Host

A group of former contestants signed a letter, which was posted to the site Medium.com, explaining their displeasure in Oz taking over the show, even if only temporary.

The letter’s introduction:

“It has been exciting to see Jeopardy! feature an increasingly diverse pool of contestants over the past few years. We are excited to see this diversity of talent expand to the guest host pool, with guest hosts such as Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to name a few. And as a large, diverse group of people, there is very little that a large group of Jeopardy! contestants can agree upon. But when we heard that Dr. Mehmet Oz was slated to be a guest host, agreement came quickly — we were opposed.”

The letter said Oz represented a “dubious trend” in the country of elevating someone to a “talking head,” without proper vetting. The letter also said:

“Dr. Oz stands in opposition to everything that Jeopardy! stands for. Jeopardy! is a show that values facts and knowledge. Throughout his nearly two decades on television (Oz) 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 … 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!?”

Oprah Winfrey Gave Oz His Start on TV

Oz is 60. In 2004, Oprah Winfrey added him to her show as an expert. He is good on camera, explaining complicated medical issues in a way most Americans understand. Winfrey’s production company launched the Dr. Oz Show in 2009. He is a big proponent of alternative medicine, although he’s a trained surgeon. This past year, Oz started appearing on Fox News as an expert on COVID.

Jeopardy! currently is using a rotation of celebrity guest hosts until they can find a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek, who died last November of pancreatic cancer. The Oz hosted shows continue through April 2.

Even the satire site The Onion posted about Dr. Oz, tweeting: Jeopardy! Guest Host Dr. Oz Under Fire For Claims He Could Have Cured Alex Trebek With These 3 Tips

The Jeopardy! official Twitter account posted a video clip of Oz talking about Alex Trebek. Oz said:

“I was fortunate to become friends with Alex and visited him and this show as often as I could. One of my favorite memories was of Alex showing me, with immense pride, a room full of letters of support and love for him from you, from his fans,” Oz added. “Of all of his achievements, he was most proud of his connection with all of you at home. I miss you, Alex, and I treasure your desire to always pay it forward.”