The Jeopardy! host has been hounded out on social media sites for 'cheating' a 12-year-old contestant out of $3k for a spelling mistake
Alex Trebek might be lining up a new career as a spelling bee judge after he harshly swindled a 12-year-old contestant out of further participation in a Jeopardy! final for misspelling the answer; 'Emancipation Proclamation.' 8th grader Thomas Hurley III, from Newtown, Connecticut, accidentally wrote 'emanciptation' in his correct answer, but Trebek called him out for the “badly misspelled” word, and thus Hurley was disqualified from the final.
Trebek has faced an online backlash, but should he have?
Hurley was asked on the game show where contestants are given the answer to a question and must give the correct question; “Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, ‘a fit and necessary war measure.’”
His answer was correct, but his spelling wasn't and although his $9,600 earning couldn't match the show's eventual winner, Trebek's decision meant that he couldn't compete any further and had to take the runners-up prize of $2,000. Online commentators have been complaining that the young boy was cheated out of money ever since, with the Jeopardy! FaceBook page now awash with angry comments. One wrote, "I watch the game almost every day and I see adults misspell words and they get away with it. They get away with it all the time. But this did not happen to the kid," with another comment adding; "Alex has ALWAYS said contestants were not penalized for spelling. That kid clearly had the right answer."
Twitter was equally as judgemental, however many commentators have pointed out one key observation, that there was no way that Hurley could have even competed for the grand prize because he was so far behind his rival competitor. Skyler Hornback set a Jeopardy! Kids Week record with his final takings of $66,000, meaning that Thomas was only ever going to win $2,000 and was hardly cheated out of any winnings in the first place. Now, Skyler's own achievements have been marred by the controversy surrounding Hurley's dismissal from the show, even though he never stood a chance of winning any more than $2k anyway.
What do you think? Has everyone over-reacted to the whole thing or does Trebek need to apologise to Hurley for 'cheating' him out of his winnings. Or really, are the only people who needs to apologise Hurley and his parents, who have greatly over-shadowed Skyler's thoroughly impressive achievement by complaining about their child's supposedly harsh treatment, even though he was going to lose anyway. Leave a comment and give us your opinion.