Alex Trebek Nearly Brings Eighth Grader to Tears

    August 5, 2013

Last week, during Kids Week on “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek almost caused an eighth grader to break down in tears after he misspelled “Emancipation Proclamation” during the Final Jeopardy round.

Eighth grader from Newtown, Connecticut, Thomas Hurley III, says he was cheated out of $3,000 after he misspelled the word “Emancipation”. The question that was given to Hurley was, “Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, ‘a fit and necessary war measure.’” He answered correctly, but included an extra “t” in the word, spelling it “emanciptation”.

Hurley bet $3,000 of his $9,600 winnings, and although he was far from winning the game show, he is still upset and feels that he was cheated out of the money. “I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final Jeopardy! question,” he told The News-Times of Danbury. “It was just a spelling error.” Hurley took home $2,000 for placing second.

Hurley’s father isn’t happy about the situation either. “The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug,” his father, Thomas Hurley II, told CNN on Sunday night. “It’s a kid’s tournament! Everyone knew what he meant.” His mother also commented on the embarrassment that her son experienced saying, “He felt embarrassed. It was hard to watch.”

“Jeopardy!” producers are standing by their decision. “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.”

Social media sites are buzzing with comments, some criticizing Trebek, while other loyal viewers are supporting his decision.