'Jeopardy' champ Ken Jennings defends podcast co-host against claims of child abuse, anti-Semitism

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"Jeopardy!" champ Ken Jennings spoke out in defense of his podcast co-host, John Roderick, after he caught backlash for telling a story about his daughter that readers likened to child abuse. 

Jennings, who has been tapped to be the first guest host of the popular game show in the wake of longtime host Alex Trebek’s death, hosts a podcast called "Omnibus" alongside Roderick. Together, the duo unpacks odd true stories in an effort to create a sort of time capsule for future generations. 

Over the weekend, Roderick shared a lengthy story on Twitter about parenting his 9-year-old daughter when she mentioned she was hungry. Instead of getting her food, he instructed her to make herself some baked beans. That task required the use of a can opener, which she did not know how to use. Roderick says he seized the opportunity as a "teaching moment" and, after six hours of struggling, she managed to figure it out. 

Readers, however, were quick to call the podcast host out for not feeding his hungry child for six hours. 

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"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 wrote Sunday to his followers on Twitter.

However, the controversy led to users combing through Roderick’s profile and coming up with tweets many deemed anti-Semitic, homophobic or racist. Eventually, Jennings responded to those asking about the unearthed tweets. 

"There’s no axis where any anti-Semitic screenshot represents any actual opinion I’ve ever heard from him," he said in response to one person. 

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"Yeah, you're playing a dumb game for dummies. You could also find long, thoughtful Twitter threads of John talking seriously about anti-Semitism on the left and right," he said in another tweet to a critic. "Is that less fun than finding a 2013 at-reply where he's talking to a friend in ‘conspiracy theory guy’ voice?" 

Roderick has deleted his account in response to the backlash. 

Prior to that, he commented on the reception the story about his daughter received online, calling it "astonishing." 

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"Somehow my story about teaching my daughter how to work out how to use a can opener and overcome her frustration got over onto a version of twitter where I’m being accused of child abuse. It’s astonishing. My kid is fine everybody," he wrote.

Ken Jennings spoke out in defense of his podcast co-host.
(VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

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In a follow-up tweet, he added: "The best part about being ratio'd by these parenting concern-trolls is that they keep harping on how depriving my kid of baked beans for SIX HOURS is child abuse. Six hours is the length of time between meals. Lunch at noon, dinner at six. They’re literally saying CHILD ABUSE."

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