Fans and former “Jeopardy!” contestants are sharing their disappointment as episodes hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz air this week. The TV personality and doctor has come under fire several times in recent years for questionable and incorrect medical advice, including misinformation about COVID-19.
The iconic trivia game show hosted by the late Alex Trebek for decades shared on social media Monday that Dr. Oz would be guest hosting this week. The show announced Oz among a list of other high-profile guest hosts in February, including Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Savannah Guthrie, as part of a rotation since Trebek’s death last year.
Shortly after “Jeopardy!” shared a video of Oz on Twitter, people condemned the show for allowing Oz to host because of his controversial medical advice in the past. Last year, Oz apologized after suggesting kids should go back to school in April. The comment came as when COVID-19 was rapidly surging nationwide, and less research was available about the virus. He also promoted use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, which the FDA later cautioned against using for coronavirus patients outside of a hospital setting.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Oz, who had his own television show up until July 2020 and has often appeared as a guest on other TV shows, was already a target of the medical community for promoting questionable advice; a group of doctors wrote a scathing letter in 2015 calling for his removal as vice chairman of Columbia University’s department of surgery. In 2012, LGBTQ+ activists denounced Oz after he allowed a debate on his show about conversion therapy, a controversial practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
In February, more than 500 former “Jeopardy!” contestants signed an open letter to executive producer Mike Richards, expressing their disappointment that Oz was slated to be a guest host.
“Dr. Oz stands in opposition to everything that Jeopardy! stands for,” the letter reads. “Throughout his nearly two decades on television he has used his authority as a doctor to push harmful ideas onto the American public, in stark contrast with his oath to first do no harm.”
The letter continued: “These ideas include promoting supplements that do nothing, legitimizing gay conversion therapy (which is banned in California, as well as 19 other states), dangerous ‘cures’ for autism, and, most recently, the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.”
Fans on Twitter have also fired back at the show’s decision to include Oz as a guest host, while also mentioning alternatives including actor LeVar Burton: