Rural officers made some people wear the signs saying “do not come near me, I am not vaccinated. Please stay away from me”. Those who were vaccinated were given a sign with the colours of the Indian flag that read “I am a patriot as I am vaccinated”.
Police in the Niwari district of Madhya Pradesh say that they have introduced the policy to encourage more vaccinations, despite a vaccine shortage in India which is preventing many people getting their jab.
Police officer, Santosh Patel, told Reuters: “Watching the low vaccination rate in our district we decided to honour the people who got vaccinated, but then we also found a large number of people who were not vaccinated.
“So, to teach them a lesson and encourage them to get vaccinated, we administrated an oath to get them inoculated as soon as possible.”
The gesture, when used for that purpose, generally is presented to clearly show the circle formed by the thumb and index finger together. Donohue held his fingers sideways across his chest, so such a circle would not be clearly visible.
Boston.com reports that Donohue initially responded to the controversy by saying on Facebook, “That’s a 3. No more. No less.” But he was reportedly criticized for not having a more forceful condemnation. That post is no longer visible. Also now missing from his public-facing Facebook page is a Facebook cover photo with an image of Frank Sinatra making a similar gesture.
“I absolutely, unequivocally condemn white supremacy and racism of any kind,” Donohue wrote. “People who know me personally know that I am not a racist, but for the public at large it bears repeating: I am not a racist and I reject and condemn white supremacy and all forms of bigotry for the evil they are. It’s shameful to me to think anyone would try to use the stage of Jeopardy! to advance or promote such a disgusting agenda.”
Donohue repeated that the gesture was to mark his third win. He also said he removed his earlier post because of the comments he was receiving.
“I did, however, understand the fair criticism that I did not include a forceful condemnation of white supremacy in my initial statement. I hope my feelings on that matter are clear now,” Donohue wrote.
In an open letter on Medium, more than 580 former contestants spoke up. They gave Donohue some benefit of the doubt, noting that he had held up fingers for his first and second wins and said the symbol may or may not have been intentional.
“Regardless of his stated intent, the gesture is a racist dog whistle,” the signatories wrote. “Some of the first people to notice this were not affiliated with ‘Jeopardy!’ in any way — they were viewers who couldn’t believe what they’d seen, captured it on video, and shared it to Twitter. Among them were people of color who, needless to say, are attuned to racist messaging and not appreciative that the show allowed this symbol to be broadcast.”
The contestants also said “Jeopardy!” has previously made changes to remove negative messaging, even reshooting segments.
“This should have been done in this case. Intentional or not, the burden was on the production team to catch the similarity to a hate symbol and make sure it didn’t end up on air,” they wrote.