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'Jeopardy!' apologizes for saying Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is in Israel

'Jeopardy!' apologizes for saying Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is in Israel

Alex Trebek has been the host of "Jeopardy" since 1984. | REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The people behind the popular television game show “Jeopardy!” have issued an apology following recent episode in which a contestant was penalized for saying that the Church of the Nativity was located in the Palestinian territories.

On a recent episode of the game show, a clue under the category "Where's that church?" asked contestants the country in which the Church of the Nativity, which is in Bethlehem, West Bank, less than 6 miles south of Jerusalem. 

When contestant Katie Needle answered "What is Palestine?" she was ruled incorrect. Then contestant Jack McGuire answered "What is Israel?" and was ruled correct.

In a statement posted on the “Jeopardy!” website Monday, the production team explained that during the filming of the episode, “we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic.”

“In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out. We restored Katie’s and Jack’s scores to what they were prior to the clue,” they continued.

“The outcome of the game was not affected. We then continued the game with this replacement clue.”

“Jeopardy!” included a link in the statement to a short YouTube video showcasing the replacement clue for the “Where’s That Church?” category.

The new clue asked for the location of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. McGuire buzzed in and got the answer correct when he responded “What is Mexico?”

The statement went on to note that the airing of the Church of the Nativity clue instead of the replacement clue was a mistake made in post-production.

“Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast. We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again,” they concluded.

When the episode aired, it generated much negative feedback on social media, with many individuals demanding that the game show apologize.

“Unacceptable!” declared Omar Baddar, who works for the Arab American Institute and is a former producer for The Stream run by Al-Jazeera, a Qatari-government run news outlet. His tweet got over 10,200 likes.

Others noted that after the commercial break, Needle inexplicably had the $200 she lost from the ruling awarded back to her score.

“For what it’s worth, if you look closely, the show went to commercial with her score at 4600 and came out of it with her score at 4800,” tweeted writer Andy Saunders at the time.

“The judges refunded her incorrect response without making an explanation to the home viewer.”

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