Jeopardy! issued an apology after fans called out the classic game show for airing an outdated and inaccurate description of a medical condition.
On Tuesday (June 22), fans took to Twitter in uproar about Jeopardy!‘s clue for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Guest host Savannah Guthrie read, “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch Syndrome because this organ is too small.”
The correct answer to the prompt, according to Jeopardy! was, “What is the heart.”
Per Fox News, those affected with the condition (which mostly affects women and children) is not necessarily characterized by having a small heart, as Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that although a POTS patient’s heart rate is greatly affected by the condition, “the structure of the heart is normal” in most.
Yesteday, the show issued a statement on the matter saying, “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 After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize.”
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 After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize.— Jeopardy!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
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the issue with POTS is more in the autonomic nervous system, which is supposed to regulate functions humans don’t consciously control such as heart rate, blood pressure, sweating and body temperature. These symptoms combined with an “exaggerated increase in heart rate when standing” are typically what POTS patients deal with, not an abnormally sized heart.
Dysautonomia International, a non-profit organization that fundraises research and promotes awareness of disorders like POTS called out Jeopardy! to apologize on Monday for their use of the “misogynistic” term.
They 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 Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool.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.”
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
Adding, “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.”
They later acknowledged and accepted Jeopardy!’s apology:
Thank you @Jeopardy. We accept your apology and appreciate that you were willing to listen to our patient community. We'd love to see some autonomic nervous system clues in the future! We encourage everyone to learn about POTS by watching this brief video: https://t.co/BYH9JsedgZ— Dysautonomia Intl. (@Dysautonomia) June 22, 2021
Here are some of the Twitter reactions upset with Jeopardy!’s use of the “Grinch” label, arguing it was needlessly derogatory:
@Jeopardy every woman in my family has pots. It's caused by a connective tissue disorder called hEDS. All of our hearts are perfectly normal in size. This is seriously outdated and ridiculous to say pots is called grinch syndrome. Pots can be caused by many things. Do better!— Sabrina Golembesky (@SabrinaGolembe1) June 22, 2021
a question about POTS was on Jeopardy recently and it’s bizarre how wrong it was. POTS doesn’t cause a small heart, nor does anyone refer to it as “grinch syndrome” lol. my heart is structurally normal thank you very much it just beats fast pic.twitter.com/4vN0SukZj9— spell pharaoh (@dopaminophen) June 22, 2021
Oh @Jeopardy this is shameful. I have POTs and am sad you would resort to this. How low. And I might add, incredibly incorrect. Would you seriously tell a kid he has a condition that makes him Grinch?! I just...can't believe this. #jeopardy https://t.co/9u5GIgdqE2— Sandy (@NatureGirlTech) June 22, 2021