"I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartful and insensitive things," he wrote on Twitter. "Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen."
"In the past, I'd usually leave bad tweets up just so they could be dunked on. At least that way they could lead to smart replies and even advocacy. Deleting them felt like whitewashing a mistake," he continued.
"But I think that practice may have given the impression I stand by every failed joke I've ever posted here. Not at all!
"Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended. It wasn't my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn't matter: I screwed up, and I'm truly sorry."
Jennings, who will take over as guest host starting on 11 January, recently came under fire for some social-media posts that make insensitive jokes about people with disabilities.
In a now-deleted 2014 post, Jennings wrote, “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair,” which followers called out as insensitive in 2018.
In 2015, Jennings joked about a Star Wars fan with terminal cancer who went to see The Force Awakens before he died. “It can’t be a good sign that every fan who has seen the new Star Wars movie died shortly thereafter,” Jennings wrote at the time.
The forthcoming host, who is known for being Jeopardy!'s longest-running winner, closed out with a message of unity in the wake of a difficult year.
"If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we should be kinder to one another. I look forward to heading into 2021 with that in mind."
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