An eighth-grader from Newtown, Conn., is questioning why “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek ruled that his answer in Final Jeopardy was wrong even though it was the correct one. Thomas Hurley III correctly answered a question about the Emancipation Proclamation but he spelled it "emanciptation" and was ruled out by Trebek. He bet $3,000 of his $9,600 in winnings and was not close to beating the winner who had $66,600.
"I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final `Jeopardy!' question," he said. "It was just a spelling error." He ended up winning $2,000 as the runner-up.
Producers of the show defended Trebek's decision, The Huffington Post reported.
"If `Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players," they said. "We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."
Hurley's mother, Suzanne, said her son was "a little stunned" by the loss. "It's generated a little bit of controversy. He felt embarrassed. It was hard to watch.''
Susan Jackson went on the Jeopardy Facebook page to vent about the incident. She also contacted local area newspapers. "Alex didn't need to insult this kid's spelling, and many people feel that Thomas is owed an apology,'' Jackson said. "It didn't change the nature of the answer, as it would in say `dessert vs. desert' since we all knew what the kid was trying to say. Jeopardy has never really discounted answers because of adults' misspellings."
A video of the incident is below: