Jeopardy! Apologizes After Backlash Over "Outdated and Inaccurate" Medical Clue

Jeopardy!'s Twitter account posted an apology on June 22 after complaints from viewers about a clue regarding a medical disorder.

By Ryan Gajewski Jun 23, 2021 8:03 AMTags
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Jeopardy! is apologizing following criticism centered on a recent episode. 

On Monday, June 21, the venerable quiz show featured a clue about the medical condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which affects a person's blood flow. The following day, the series' official Twitter account posted a message of apology after complaints regarding how the condition was described. 

"Yesterday's program included a clue about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)," the show tweeted. "After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize."

The controversial clue, which appeared during an episode guest-hosted by Savannah Guthrie, read, "Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is also known as Grinch syndrome because this organ is too small." The answer was the heart.

After the episode aired, Dysautonomia International—a nonprofit focused on awareness of autonomic nervous system disorders—tweeted that the phrase Grinch syndrome is "outdated" and "misogynistic." 

"Can you imagine Jeopardy making light of cancer or MS patients with a 'funny' name for their debilitating health condition? Not acceptable," the organization posted. "We'd love to see real questions about the autonomic nervous system."

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This led Mrs. Doubtfire actress Mara Wilson to reply, "It's also just not true! It was based on one doctor's contentious theory proposed more than ten years ago. There's no scientific consensus. Disappointed to see @Jeopardy spreading medical misinformation."

Mara added, "Thinking back to all the EKGs, ECGs, stress tests, and heart monitors I've had over the years, all of which have shown my heart to be totally normal, while my autonomic nervous system remains a mess."

According to the website for Johns Hopkins Medicine, "In most patients with POTS, the structure of the heart itself is normal."