Yahoo! TV

'Jeopardy!' Host Alex Trebek Faces Backlash For Humiliating Kid Contestant on TV

Yahoo TV

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

Alex Trebek is in a bit of social media jeopardy.

The longtime host of "Jeopardy!" is facing backlash from Facebook and Twitter users over his treatment of a 12-year-old's spelling error on a special kids edition of the game show last week.

Thomas Hurley III, an 8th grader from Newtown, Conn., says he was cheated out of $3,000 after he misspelled "Emancipation Proclamation" during the Final Jeopardy round.

The answer had been, "Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, 'a fit and necessary war measure.'"

[Related: The 10 Best Celebrity Game Show Freak-Outs]

Hurley spelled the word "emanciptation" (with an extra "T"), and Trebek said he "misspelled it badly" and said the judges ruled his response incorrect. The boy hung his head, and seemed to mouth the word "what?" Then, the host noted that winner Skyler Hornback's response was spelled correctly. The decision did not affect the game's outcome; Hornback had an insurmountable lead.

Still, Hurley is upset that he lost $3,000 over an extra letter. "I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final 'Jeopardy!' question. It was just a spelling error," he told the Danbury News-Times.

His father is angrier, saying Trebek "basically humiliated" his son on television.

"Alex Trebek was really sort of callous and smug, kind of condescending towards my son," he told radio host Fran Schneidau.

The response from "Jeopardy!" fans was heated, with people falling on both sides. Some praised the show and Trebek for adhering to the rules, but many others blasted the host for his "smug" attitude.

[Related: Who's Replacing Alex Trebek on 'Jeopardy!'?]  

"The kid wouldn't have won either way — but that's not the point," Katie Wanta wrote on the "Jeopardy!" Facebook page. "The way Alex handled the situation was the issue, imo. He didn't need to go beyond 'it was spelled wrong and ruled incorrect, sorry' he didn't need to make a dig that the winner spelled things correctly and embarrass the poor kid for his mistake."

Another viewer, Aymee Harvey Combs, chimed in, "I understand that rules are rules and with that being said.......I thought the way Alex handle the situation was terrible........He appeared as a pretentious SNOB stating the word was misspelled badly.........they are kids for goodness sakes!!!!!!"

Trebek hasn't spoken out about Hurley's treatment, but "Jeopardy!" producers defended their decision in an email to media.

"If 'Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players," they wrote. "We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."

View Comments

Recommended for You

  • Jon Stewart deftly shows Sean Hannity why you don't pick a fight with Jon Stewart

    On Thursday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart admitted that he is, in fact, a bit obsessed with Fox News host Sean Hannity, as Hannity had suggested on his show Tuesday night. This brewing spat started on Monday night, when Stewart mocked Hannity for supporting Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in…

    The Week (RSS)
  • Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on 24, Revenge, Grey's, Dixie, Once, NCIS, Arrow, Sleepy and More!

    Got a scoop request? An anonymous tip you’re dying to share? Send any/all of the above to askausiello@tvline.com Question: Any update on whether Elisha Cuthbert will be back as Kim in 24: Live Another Day? —Jennifer Ausiello: My sources insist the 12-episode revival will […]

    TVLine.com
  • Credit Cards Now Offering 0% APR for 18 Months.

    Consumers can now get rid of high interest rates and get 0% APR for 18 months. Other offers including double miles and 40k points or $100 cash!

    AdChoices CompareCards.comSponsored
  • Watch Stephen Colbert bid farewell to The Daily Show, as only Colbert can

    This is what we are learning about Stephen Colbert's departure from The Colbert Report, the show he has hosted for nine years: It will be a long farewell, and the character Stephen Colbert is already being written out of the script for the real Colbert's next act, hosting CBS Late Night.

    The Week (RSS)
  • Inside Oprah’s Bizarre Love Triangle

    Winfrey’s stepmom gives an unfiltered Daily Mail interview about the former queen of daytime’s unusual relationship with her boyfriend—and even stranger one with her best friend.

    The Daily Beast (RSS)
  • Sam Register Upped To President Of Warner Bros. Animation, Will Head New Digital Unit

    Warner Bros Animation’s EVP Creative Affairs Sam Register has been promoted to President, Warner Bros Animation and Warner Digital Series. The second part of the title refers to Register’s role as head of a newly formed live-action digital content production unit where he will oversee the…

    Deadline.com
  • A's lineup: Gentry in center, Norris catching

    Programming note: Rangers-As coverage starts today at 12 p.m. with As Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (Channel locations) And join Insider Joe Stiglich to chat during innings 2-4 of the game.

    Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
  • [video] Aereo v. the Networks: The Supreme Court Battle

    Aereo, the online-video startup, and television broadcasters have squared off at the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a battle over copyright law that could shake up the industry. Why do the networks want to kill ...

    MarketWatch
  • Could A Ruling Against Aereo Kill The Cloud?

    U.S. Supreme Court justices Tuesday seemed to be wondering aloud whether the case against startup Aereo was also linked to cloud computing. The Associated Press reported Justice Stephen Breyer saying, ...

    Benzinga
  • Top Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

    For people with excellent credit. Compare exclusive offers side-by-side and apply online for the card that is right for you.

    AdChoices CreditCards.comSponsored
  • Play

    How Cameron Diaz Pranked Fallon’s Baby

    Wednesday on "The Tonight Show," Jimmy Fallon called out Cameron Diaz for pranking his infant daughter. Diaz was hanging out with the Fallon’s and their then 6-week-old named Winnie Rose. Once Winnie had fallen asleep, Diaz placed the child’s hand in a glass of warm water! According to Diaz, since…

    Nighttime in No Time Videos
  • Brean Capital Sees Wisdom in Time Warner Cable Deal

    In a report published Wednesday, Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell reiterated a Buy rating and $165.00 price target on Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC ). In the report, Brean Capital noted, “Comcast 1Q14 ...

    Benzinga
  • ITV Studios UK Hires Discovery Intl Exec Julian Bellamy As Managing Director

    ITV Studios UK has moved quickly to fill the Managing Director post that will be vacated by Denise O’Donoghue at the end of 2014. Julian Bellamy, who is currently Discovery Networks International Creative Director and Head of Commissioning, will take over from O’Donoghue later this year, ITV said…

    Deadline.com
  • LIVE: Rangers vs. A's

    Tommy Milone and the A's look to take Game 2 of the three-game set. Watch on Comcast SportsNet Plus and follow along with In-Game Live..

    Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
  • Piquet Jr. to run Global Rallycross with SH Racing

    Nelson Piquet Jr. will compete in the upcoming Global Rallycross season with new entrant SH Racing. Piquet spent almost two full seasons in Formula One before moving to NASCAR in 2010. The Brazilian ran two full seasons in the Truck Series, where he won two races in 2012, and ran the full…

    The Associated Press
  • Comcast nears deal with Charter on $18-$20 bln in divestitures -source

    Comcast may divest about 4 million subscribers after its merger with Time Warner Cable and is working to reach an accord to sell a portion of those customers to Charter Communications, a source familiar with the matter said Tuesday. Comcast is studying what could be a two-phase process, where…

    Reuters
  • 74-Yr-Old Outsmarts Doctors. Reduces Her Wrinkles.

    The ultimate skin tightening regimen that is helping every day women achieve younger looking skin without breaking the bank.

    AdChoices LifeCellSkinSponsored
  • View

    '24: Live Another Day' (44 photos)

    Four years ago, Jack Bauer was a fugitive from justice. Now an exile, he nevertheless is willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster. The harrowing day will have Jack attempting to thwart an unthinkable terrorist attack that could change the world forever. "24: Live…

    Yahoo TV
  • Ryan Dempster hired by MLB Network

    MLB Network now has approximately 3,457 major leaguers on staff. Ryan Dempster is the newest.

    NBC Sports
  • Hemisphere Media Group: A Value Unlocking Story With 30+% Upside

    In 2013, Hemisphere Media Group ( HMTV ) was created through a combination of Azteca Acquisition Corporation, Cinelatino, WAPA America, and WAPA TV. The stock since its IPO over a year ago quickly traded ...

    Seeking Alpha
  • Amazon to get exclusive right to some HBO series

    Amazon.com and HBO have signed a multiyear deal to give Amazon Prime the exclusive rights to air some HBO series.

    CNBC
  • Why Women Love 'Deadliest Catch'

    Captain Keith Colburn explains the show's female following and reveals the scariest moment he's ever had at sea

    Daily Shot
  • Autoblog Podcast #377

    Episode #377 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Steven Ewing talk about the New York Auto Show, the Beijing Motor Show (and a tangent or two). We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our…

    Autoblog
  • Medicare Expenses Can Be Suffocating!

    If you are like thousands of other Americans for whom Parts A & B just won't cut it, come find a breath of fresh air. See your (Free) Medigap quotes!

    AdChoices MedicareSupplemental.comSponsored