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Scores of fans have joined hundreds of ex-Jeopardy! contestants opposing Dr. Oz's temporary hosting gig, citing his recent response to COVID as harmful to viewers.

By Joey Nolfi
March 23, 2021 at 09:53 AM EDT
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According to Jeopardy! fans, the show's decision to hire Dr. Mehmet Oz as a temporary host falls into the category of "dangerous."

Scores of viewers have joined over 500 past competitors in calling for the removal of the controversial figure from his post as one of many hosts set to fill in for the late Alex Trebek, citing Oz's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged dispersion of misleading medical advice as the antithesis to the game show's spirit.

"Dr. Oz spreads dangerous medical misinformation for profit," wrote one user, while another added: "I'm writing, not to be snarky, but to sincerely register my objection to this show associating its long-established identity of fact-based knowledge with a man whose stature has become increasingly dependent on dangerous pseudo-science. Jeopardy is very important to me."

Others, including journalist Yashar Ali, accused Oz of spreading "pseudoscience" while linking to a video that showed Trebek touting Laura Coates as an appropriate successor to his post.

The viewer backlash comes one month after hundreds of ex-Jeopardy! contenders signed a petition urging the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, to nix Oz from the series.

"Dr. Oz stands in opposition to everything that Jeopardy! stands for. Jeopardy! is a show that values facts and knowledge. 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 read, alleging that Oz's promotion of supplements that "do nothing," legitimization of gay conversion therapy, and touting of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID were "actively putting his viewers in danger."

"Dr. Oz represents what has become a dubious trend in America: the elevation of the credentialed talking head at the expense of academic rigor and consensus. We once viewed intelligence and genius as something that a single heroic intellect could embody. We have since learned and we now understand that we do much better at study and science when we approach it as a group and build off of each other's insights and checks," the letter continued.

"Jeopardy! is known for being incredibly rigorous; a well-deserved reputation. As contestants, we've all seen what happens behind the scenes if there's any doubt about a question. We've seen writers and judges frantically cross-reference answers in real time to make sure that the facts are accurate. To then invite Dr. Oz to guest-host is a slap in the face to all involved."

Representatives for Jeopardy! and Dr. Oz didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment on the letter and the allegations against him, though the show's Twitter account recently shared a video of Oz on the set announcing the program's decision to donate to his HealthCorps charity for health education.

"I was fortunate to become friends with Alex and visited him and this show as often as I could. One of my favorite memories was of Alex showing me, with immense pride, a room full of letters of support and love for him from you, from his fans," Oz added. "Of all of his achievements, he was most proud of his connection with all of you at home. I miss you, Alex, and I treasure your desire to always pay it forward."

Oz is currently slated to host Jeopardy! through April 2, following Katie Couric's multi-episode stint at the head of the show, which ended on March 19. Following Oz, Aaron Rodgers, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Mayim Bialik, Bill Whitaker, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta will step in to host in the months ahead.

See more fan responses to Oz hosting Jeopardy! below.

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, plus what The Resident's Morris Chestnut is watching, in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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