Ken Jennings defends podcast cohost's 'Bean Dad' thread and past offensive tweets: 'This site is so dumb'
In a now-deleted 23-tweet thread on Saturday, Roderick said he once made his hungry 9-year-old daughter spend six hours learning to use a can opener while he watched. The musician and podcaster said he saw it as a "teaching moment," but commenters on Twitter slammed his hands-off approach as cruel, leading #BeanDad to trend throughout the day. He's since deleted his account.
Jennings, who hosts the podcast Omnibus with Roderick, addressed the situation on Sunday.
"Extremely jealous and annoyed that my podcast co-host is going to be a dictionary entry and I never will," he joked.
In a second tweet, Jennings wrote, "If this reassures anyone, I personally know John to be (a) a loving and attentive dad who (b) tells heightened-for-effect stories about his own irascibility on like ten podcasts a week. This site is so dumb."
Jennings' response rubbed some the wrong way, as he recently had to apologize for his own insensitive tweets, which resurfaced in the wake of Jeopardy! naming him as interim host following Alex Trebek's death.
"You know, I really thought your apology last week was a good one. But now that I see the kind of people you promote I'm not sure you meant a word of it," one woman responded, along with screenshots of Roderick's offensive tweets.
In a 2011 tweet, Roderick used the n-word and defended the use of slurs. A more recent tweet from 2016 had him writing about being "a student of Hitler."
After a Twitter user mentioned Roderick's anti-Semitic tweets, Jennings responded, "If we're word-searching through old tweets now, it's pretty easy to find what he actually thinks about anti-Semitism. On our show he's always the pro-Israel one!"
Jennings' response led some to note that is inaccurate to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, and vice versa. "It’s definitely not anti-Semitic to equate Jewish people to Israel!" writer Eoin Higgins tweeted sarcastically.
While Jennings is standing by Roderick, other pop-culture personalities associated with him are severing ties. The McElroy brothers, who use a track from Roderick's band as the theme song for their podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me, announced they would be finding new music.
"We appreciate John letting us use one of his songs as the theme for MBMBaM for nearly a decade, but his response to today’s situation is emblematic of a pattern of behavior that is antithetical to the energy we try to bring to the things we do, and so it’s time for us to move on," the podcast's official account tweeted.
Representatives for Jennings and Roderick did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.