“Celebrity Jeopardy!” was harshly criticized for including a clue that referenced Brian Laundrie, the man who allegedly murdered Gabby Petito in the fall of 2021.
Laundrie committed suicide weeks after Petito’s body was found, with her strangled in a campground near the Grand Teton mountains. He left a note in which he confessed to killing his longtime girlfriend.
“In 2021, fugitive Brian Laundrie ended his days in Fla’s Myakkahatchee Creek area, home to these long & toothy critters,” the “Celebrity Jeopardy!” clue stated, referring to alligators, as actors John Michael Higgins, Wil Wheaton and Joel Kim Booster competed on the show.
Social media abounded with outraged fans offering their condemnation:
“Jeopardy! just had the most absurd question I have ever seen in my life,” one user said.
Another added, “‘This is the most tasteless and insensitive answer I’ve ever seen on any Jeopardy! What the hell were they thinking? Making light of that tragic situation is repugnant. Damn.”
“What the f***, Jeopardy! A Brian Laundrie question? Tasteless,” one added.
People were confused by the composition of the question as well.
“That Jeopardy! question mentioning Brian Laundrie and the answer was alligators?? What the actual hell, that was so…out of line. Not necessary! There was no reason to mention him at all,” one social media user said.
“Have you no soul? I can’t believe this question got past your lawyers,” one person asked.
In the note he left in a notebook, Laundrie claimed that Petito had slipped and fallen, “begging for an end to her pain.”
“I ended her life,” he wrote. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistake that I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain.”
Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt ripped Laundrie’s explanation, writing on Twitter, “Fed up. Narcissists rewrite history to escape accountability.”
“That was his character, even in his last moments he wanted to make sure he looked like the good guy,” Schmidt told NBC’s Today Show. “That’s ridiculous. We know how she died.”
Patrick Riley, an attorney for the Petito family, reacted to Laundrie’s claim that the killing was “merciful,” calling it “nonsense,” adding. “He is writing a letter as though he wants people to feel sorry for him.”
In late September 2021, as hundreds of mourners attended a service at a funeral home for Petito, her father told the audience, “If there is a relationship that you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it. Now.”