In a surprising turn of events, fans of the long-standing quiz show “Jeopardy!” have expressed concerns over its partnership with pharmaceutical giant Moderna, accusing the show of promoting COVID-19 “vaccine propaganda.”
As the 40th season of the show commenced on September 11, viewers were met with a change in the show’s sponsorship landscape.
While corporate sponsorships in television are commonplace, a segment of the “Jeopardy!” audience took to social media platforms to voice their objections to Moderna’s association with the show. Specifically, viewers raised concerns about the inclusion of COVID-19 vaccine messaging in the new season.
Canadian lawyer and YouTuber David Freiheit posted a video highlighting a Final Jeopardy clue about American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick. The clip concluded with a mention of Moderna as the sponsor, followed by a message about the ongoing COVID-19 situation and a recommendation to stay updated on vaccines.
Freiheit’s caption expressed his surprise and discomfort with the show’s new sponsorship arrangement, cautioning against relying solely on television for information.
Similar sentiments were echoed by various users across social media platforms, with some viewers criticizing the show for allegedly pushing COVID-19 vaccine messaging. Some viewers expressed their decision to stop watching the show in response to these concerns.
While the show’s sponsorship with Moderna has raised eyebrows, it’s worth noting that Moderna’s efforts to raise awareness about COVID-19 booster shots have included the release of custom clues in the style of “Jeopardy!” during previous tournaments.
Moderna’s sponsorship of “Jeopardy!” was recognized in the Healthcare & Pharma category at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023, acknowledging the company’s efforts to increase awareness of boosters among the show’s audience, which includes a significant portion of individuals over 50.