When Jeopardy! fans tune in to watch a new episode of the beloved game show every weekday, many look forward to testing their knowledge. But a clue during Monday’s night episode, which was guest hosted by Today show coanchor Savannah Guthrie, wound up offending some viewers at home.
In the first round, contestant Michael Tran chose the “Plain-Named Maladies” category for $600 and was prompted with the clue, “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch Syndrome because this organ is too small.” Within seconds, contestant Jessica Newman found the answer Jeopardy! was looking for: “What is the heart?”
Though the game show continued on, some people watching took to Twitter to criticize Jeopardy! for the contents of the clue, as well as the words chosen to describe the condition.
“#Jeopardy is wrong. The condition #POTS does not change the size of the heart. I know this because I have it! ♥️♥️♥️ I was diagnosed in 2007. I have never, ever heard it referred to as the ‘Grinch’ condition! Big fail,” one person wrote. “Hey, @Jeopardy, this is 100% wrong and irritates me to see MY chronic illness misrepresented. Get your facts right!” a different fan said. “I was diagnosed with POTS in 2018. Not only is this gross, it's inaccurate. POTS patients do not have smaller hearts than the average person, and I've certainly never heard anyone refer to the condition as such. Are the people over at Jeopardy okay?” a follower commented. "@Jeopardy my daughter has suffered from POTS for 5 years! She isn’t a Grinch she is a WARRIOR!!! You need to apologize to the millions who suffer daily!!!," another tweeted.
According to Cleveland Clinic, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is defined as a medical condition that affects blood flow. POTS can present symptoms when a person tries to stand up from a reclining position but experiences rapid heart rate, dizziness, chronic fatigue, abdominal pain and more. POTS is most prevalent in women between the ages of 13 to 50 years old. An estimated 1 to 3 million people suffer with the condition in the United States.
Per John Hopkins Medicine, "the structure of the heart itself is normal" with most POTS patients.
The non-profit organization Dysautonomia International, an organization that raises research funds and promotes awareness for various forms of dysautonomia, including POTS, also joined the conversation by asking Jeopardy! to apologize for the incident.
“Hey @Jeopardy no one with any credibility calls POTS ‘Grinch Syndrome.’ Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool. We request an apology on behalf of our community. Do better,” the tweet said.
The organization also posted a follow-up tweet where it doubled down on its criticism, noting in part, “Grinch syndrome is an offensive term … We'd love to see real questions about the autonomic nervous system.”
Ahead of Tuesday's episode, Jeopardy! responded with an apology on Twitter: "Yesterday’s program included a clue about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize."
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