When Talia Lavin appeared on Jeopardy! in 2015, she decided to have some fun with what she knew was a losing game. For her Final Jeopardy! response, therefore, she decided to reference “Turd Ferguson,” an alias Burt Reynolds (as played by Norm MacDonald) had used on SNL’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketches. The moment went viral online and generated a slew of lighthearted articles. Lavin was temporarily thrilled by the attention. Then the internet comments started pouring in, mostly from men describing Lavin’s body in explicit sexual detail. Lavin writes about her experience and the experiences of other candidates in a piece at Broadly. Titled, with characteristic candor, “Big Tits For 600: The Ugly, Sexist Aftermath Of Appearing On Jeopardy!” Lavin found that her ordeal was far from unique. Women who had appeared on the “staid” and “wholesome” quiz show were receiving unwanted Facebook requests, lewd emails, and alternately lustful and insulting YouTube comments. In her own case, Lavin admits she read many of these comments “with a kind of horrified fascination” and, in the process, learned first-hand how women in the media are objectified.
While the article mostly concentrates on the plight of female Jeopardy! contestants, including one woman who was stalked by a deluded man after she appeared on the show, Lavin points out that male players have occasionally been sexually harassed online. “But on the whole,” she writes, “the difference between men and women’s post-Jeopardy! experiences was stark.”