NBC News has been called out by Jeopardy! viewers for using unnecessary labels in their recent headline regarding Mattea Roach.
Roach, the 23-year-old Nova Scotia native who has currently been dominating the game show, just secured her 16th consecutive win on Tuesday night. She has earned a spot in the show’s record books for her earnings of almost $400k so far and her current 8th place ranking for the highest number of consecutive wins.
NBC News labeled Roach as a ‘lesbian tutor from Toronto’
On Monday, NBC News released an article that described Roach as the “latest LGBTQ Jeopardy! phenom.”
The news outlet posted the story on social media with a lede that referred to Roach as a “23-year-old lesbian tutor.” Although Roach is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community and even has the word “lesbian” in her Twitter bio, many fans found the use of the label unnecessary and in poor taste.
“The 23-year-old lesbian tutor from Toronto has amassed a total of $320,081, the most by a Canadian contestant in “Jeopardy!” history,
NBC News wrote.
Jeopardy! viewers quick to slam NBC News for word choice
NBC News received quick backlash on Twitter for choosing to use the word “lesbian” to describe Roach in their lede.
One user tweeted back at NBC News, “Why do you mention her sexuality? What the hell difference does it make. So ridiculous. Do you preface every person your talk about with a mention of their sexual preference?”
@SFLLCoach responded, “@NBCNews why did you feel the need to mention that she is a lesbian? Who cares if she is or not. Her sexuality isn’t anyone’s business. Celebrate her accomplishments without any alternative motives.”
Some users gave their thoughts on what NBC News should have written instead – “Try this: Congratulations to Mattea Roach, Canadian tutor, for her amassed sum of $320,081, the most won by a Canadian contestant in Jeopardy history.”
Others pointed out the fact that if it were a heterosexual contestant, sexuality would not have been included in the article.
“Dear @NBCNews Can you tell me the last heterosexual Jeopardy champion where you signaled their sexuality in your headlines? Oh, you never have. Maybe think on that,” user @lorimacdon wrote.
Another user mentioned one of Jeopardy’s current hosts, Ken Jennings, who also holds the record for most consecutive wins on the show. “Oddly enough, I never once heard NBC News report on ‘Totally straight Ken Jennings’ in all his time on the show.”
Fans commented on NBC’s confusing phrase ‘lesbian tutor’
Many fans also pointed out NBC’s phrase of choice – “lesbian tutor” – and how the words could read as somebody who “tutors lesbians.” Although many Jeopardy! viewers replied to NBC News with sarcastic questions regarding the phrase, they still pointed out that it was unnecessary to use those words in the description at all.
One user asked, “So does she tutor lesbians or does she tutor people how to be lesbians?”
“Does she teach women how to live great lives as lesbians? If not, I don’t see how her sexual orientation is something to publicize. This is weird. Might want to ask her if that’s how she wants to be described on Twitter,” another user wrote.
User @OpinionMachine2 asked similarly, “Does she teach people how to be lesbians? Or does she tutor only lesbians in some other subject? I know what you meant, but I’m not sure it needed to be literally the 2nd thing I ever heard about her – before even her name or why she made the news.”
Some just had to make light of the matter – “Who knew that being a ‘lesbian tutor’ was a thing…. didn’t know they needed ‘tutoring.'”
It’s safe to say Jeopardy! viewers and fans of Mattea Roach were disappointed that NBC News chose to mention her sexuality before her accomplishments as the current champion of the show. As of now, NBC News has not yet addressed its controversial tweet – which still remains on its Twitter account as of today.