Why 'Jeopardy!' Has Apologized for 'Outdated, Inaccurate' Clue

Jeopardy! faced a barrage of criticism this week, after sharing a controversial clue to a question that was later accepted to be "outdated" and "inaccurate."

During Monday's episode of the popular quiz show, a clue in the "Plain-named Maladies" category read: "Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is also known as Grinch syndrome because this organ is too small."

The correct answer to the clue was deemed to be: "What is the heart?"

However, the description of the condition drew fierce criticism online, with a number of those familiar with POTS taking to Twitter to point out the inaccuracy.

Dysautonomia International, a non-profit that raises funds for research and promotes awareness of autonomic nervous system disorders, wrote: "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"Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool.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."

Posting a screenshot of the offending question, Dysautonomia International added: "This appeared on Jeopardy tonight. Grinch syndrome is an offensive term.

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

According to Cleveland Clinic, POTS is a condition that affects blood flow, leading to symptoms such as lightheadedness, fainting and a rapid increase in heartbeat whenever a patient stands up from a reclining position.

The majority of POTS patients are women, aged between 13 and 50 years old, and can develop after a viral illness, serious infection, medical illness, pregnancy, or trauma such as a head injury.

This appeared on Jeopardy tonight. Grinch syndrome is an offensive term. Can you imagine Jeopardy making light of cancer or MS patients with a "funny" name for their debilitating health condition? Not acceptable. We'd love to see real questions about the autonomic nervous system. pic.twitter.com/kqetij1Jwx

— Dysautonomia Intl. (@Dysautonomia) June 22, 2021

Lauren Stiles, president and co-founder of Dysautonomia International, told Parade Magazine: "POTS is an autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts an estimated one to three million Americans.

"When the autonomic nerves aren't working properly, this can cause symptoms like lightheadedness, brain fog, fainting, an abnormally fast heart rate when standing up, gastrointestinal problems, and more.

"About 85% of POTS patients are female and the most common age of onset is age 14. Although adults can develop it too. There are no FDA approved treatments for POTS, so patients struggle to find effective treatments."

On Tuesday, Dysautonomia International's Twitter account directed a request at current stand-in host Savannah Guthrie to urge the Jeopardy! team to address the issue.

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.

— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) June 22, 2021

Hours later, a tweet shared on the official Twitter account for Jeopardy! read: "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."

Responding to the apology, Stiles told Parade: "We're glad Jeopardy! was willing to listen to our patient community. We've all learned something by watching Jeopardy! for years, and this time Jeopardy! learned something from its audience. We love Jeopardy!. Who doesn't?

"We just want to make sure our patient community is represented accurately in the media... It's very timely because there are a lot of people being diagnosed with POTS after having COVID-19. Many 'long-hauler' COVID patients are developing a post-viral form of POTS, and we are working with the top researchers to study this."

A host of celebrities have stepped in as guest hosts on Jeopardy! following the November 2020 death of veteran presenter Alex Trebek.

Today show host Guthrie succeeded Mayim Bialik and will be followed by George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, David Faber, and Joe Buck.

Jeopardy! executive producer and showrunner Mike Richards confirmed in May that a decision on the new host will be made before the next season of the syndicated show begins taping later this summer.

"You want to make an informed decision," Richards said on The Journal podcast. "We want to go at this with real analytics and real testing and not just go, 'Hey, how about this guy?' which is kind of how a lot of these decisions have been made historically."

"Jeopardy!" issues apology for "outdated" clue
The team behind "Jeopardy!" issued an apology on Tuesday, following the inclusion of an "outdated, inaccurate" clue about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome during Monday's episode. Getty Images/Amanda Edwards