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Ken Jennings is defending his podcast co-host John Roderick following a controversy that saw the latter labeled “Bean Dad.” That, in turn, led to some social media users accusing Roderick of “child abuse” and then digging up old tweets that they charged are racist, anti-semitic and homophobic.
Jennings and Roderick co-host the podcast Omnibus, which is described as “an encyclopedic reference work of strange-but-true stories that they are compiling as a time capsule for future generations.”
Over the weekend, Roderick shared a lengthy story on Twitter about teaching his 9-year-old daughter how to use a can opener.
The gist was that she was hungry and so he told her to make some baked beans. He was incredulous upon learning that she did not know how to open the can and decided this was an opportunity for a “Teaching Moment.” After six hours, which included “tears” and his daughter “collaps[ing] in a frustrated heap” — his words — she figured it out.
What caught the attention of many on Twitter was the fact that he told her they would not eat until she figured out how to use the can opener. “Sweetheart, neither of us will eat another bite today until we get into this can of beans,” he tweeted of what he told her. Many criticized his parenting style for refusing to feed her or help her, with some charging it was “child abuse.”
Initially, Roderick defended himself. He changed his Twitter bio to “Bean Dad since 2021” and responded with a series of tweets.
“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.
In another 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.”
Jennings — the author and Jeopardy! champion who was chosen to serve as intern host of the game show following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek, who died in November after a battle with pancreatic cancer — on Sunday defended Roderick amid the criticism of his parenting style.
“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,” he wrote, referring to Twitter.
However, the controversy did not stop there. Those folks who were upset about his initial thread started digging into his past tweets.
He tried to make a “witty” post about not feeding his child until she figured out how to use a can opener and it opened scrutiny into his timeline and now he’s deleted his account and the stans are out enabling his toxicity.
— ManiacalV (ColinT) (@ManiacalV) January 3, 2021
These tweets, captured in screenshots and on the Wayback Machine’s website, included Roderick’s defending the use of racist and homophobic slurs. Many also included anti-semitic sentiments and several referred to Hitler. Roderick has deleted his account since the controversy broke out.
When asked about Roderick’s “weird anti Semitic shit” on Twitter, Jennings replied that Roderick is “always the pro-Israel one” on their podcast and then added: “There’s no axis where any anti-Semitic screenshot represents any actual opinion I’ve ever heard from him.”
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Jennings for additional comment.
Roderick also co-hosts the podcasts Roderick on the Line, Road Work and Friendly Fire.
In addition, he is the lead singer and guitarist for the indie rock band The Long Winters.
Omnibus is an independently produced podcast.
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