“Celebrity Jeopardy!” is in hot water with its fans after a recent episode referenced the suicide death of Brian Laundrie, who killed his girlfriend Gabby Petito while on a road trip in 2021.
On Sunday, celebrity contestants John Michael Higgins, Joel Kim Booster and Wil Wheaton showed off their knowledge for the trivia show’s semifinal. Among the featured question categories was “The ‘A’ list,” in which the responses should contain the letter “A.” After a card was selected, host Mayim Bialik then read the controversial hint.
“In 2021 fugitive Brian Laundrie ended his days in Fla.’s Myakkahatchee Creek Area, home to these long toothy critters,” she read.
The answer: “What are alligators?”
The point went to “Fire Island” star Joel Kim Booster, and the show quickly moved on to the next question. But fans were shaken by the clue.
“I was mortified to be watching Jeopardy and low and behold they asked a casual question about alligators referencing Brian Laundrie! Oh Mayim. Oh Jeopardy! What incredibly poor taste,” tweeted one fan on Sunday.
Laundrie’s remains were found last October after authorities say he shot himself in the head. He was 23. His remains were found in the Florida nature preserve after he went missing amid the search to question him in Petito’s killing.
The coroner said Petito died of “blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation” in September 2021. The FBI said in January that Laundrie admitted to killing his girlfriend in a notebook found near his remains.
Attorney Steven Bertolino, who represents the Laundrie family, told TMZ on Monday that they would like some accountability for the clue.
“The entire Laundrie family is appalled and concurs with all of the comments on social media on how distasteful this was,” TMZ reported. “I believe an apology is due.”
A representative for “Jeopardy!” did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Tuesday.
“Jeopardy!” fans said that the clue was not only in poor taste, but an indirect approach to the correct answer.
“So unnecessarily morbid,” tweeted another fan. “Could have said anything related to Florida and gotten there.”
Another fan tweeted it was below “Jeopardy!” standards, and “showed a complete lack of class and total disrespect.”
See more fan reactions to Sunday’s hint below: