It’s been a long time since “Jeopardy” has provoked anger in anyone. But that’s where the syndicated game show finds itself after the most recent Kids Week tournament. Don’t mess with the kids, Trebek!
The incident that touched off the outrcy was the spelling of “Emancipation Proclamation” by Newtown, Conn., eighth grader Thomas Hurley during Final Jeopardy.
Poor Thomas wrote “Emanciptation Proclamation,” and though there’s no question what he was going for, the unforgiving “Jeopardy” judges wouldn’t give it a thumbs up. Not that it would have mattered much, as his competitor Skyler Hornback nearly doubled his already sizable lead by answering correctly (and spelling it correctly). In fact, Hornback set a Kids Week record with his $66,600 final haul. It was also the third-highest one-day total in “Jeopardy” history.
The “Jeopardy” Facebook page has been flooded with comments defending the boy’s answer. Many have called the moment “heartbreaking.”
In a statement to the Huffington Post, “Jeopardy’s” producers defended the decision, writing: “If Jeopardy! were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show, and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment.”
Thomas wasn’t the only kid to fall afoul of the “Jeopardy” judges this week. Another contestant, 11-year-old Zoe Assasie, incorrectly answered the clue, “The last entry in the Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is used to represent this annoying sound” with “ZZZ.”
According to the “Jeopardy” judges, the correct answer was “snoring."