Brian Laundrie’s family is furious after Jeopardy! aired a clue that referenced the manhunt following the murder of his girlfriend Gabby Petito. Laundrie was namechecked on the quiz show a little over a year after everyone from authorities to Dog The Bounty Hunter was searching for him before he was found dead.
For those that missed the episode, Jeopardy! tied the harrowing story of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie to a clue for what type of animal was found in the Florida Myakkahatchee Creek Area. The answer was alligators, and some folks on social media couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow in regard to why that was the route Jeopardy! chose to go for an “alligator” question. Additionally, TMZ reported a statement from Brian Laundrie’s family on the clue, which came from their lawyer who spoke out about other controversies during the case as it unfolded, Steven Bertolino said:
Brian Laundrie’s family would like an apology for Jeopardy!’s insensitivity, for what is likely a situation that the family is still coping with a year later. During the manhunt for Laundrie, there was speculation floating around that his parents aided their son in making an escape, and might’ve known the area of Florida he was located in. Regardless of the validity of those claims, it’s understandable how the Laundrie family might be upset that a year later they could have to deal with more questions and attention because of Jeopardy!.
This wouldn’t be the first time Jeopardy! was criticized for a clue made in bad taste, as a similar issue surfaced for the game show in 2021. During Savannah Guthrie’s brief tenure as a guest host, the show faced scrutiny when it referred to POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, as “Grinch Syndrome.” Advocacy groups as well as fans reached out to point out that using that term was damaging and offensive to those who suffer from the illness. Jeopardy! later acknowledged that it made a mistake in using the term on its program, and apologized to the viewership as a result.
It’s fair to speculate, however, that Jeopardy! could handle its situation with its latest clue controversy a bit differently. While there’s definitely a case to be made for the show using an insensitive subject matter for a clue, it seems like the show could face additional scrutiny for apologizing to the family of a high-profile murderer. At the same time, there’s certainly a middle ground where the game show can acknowledge the reference was inappropriate and, will take steps to ensure that it doesn’t make clues that could be perceived as making light of very serious and recent tragedies. Ultimately, the show will make mistakes elsewhere with the rules or some technical glitch, so the best thing fans can hope for is an appropriate response when it messes up.
Jeopardy! airs on weekdays, but readers will have to check their local listings for the time and network to catch it. Now might be a good time to tune in given all the fall finales happening in primetime, though there are still some titles left on the 2022 TV schedule worth checking out for anyone hoping to find a new series to watch.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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