“Jeopardy!” is not typically known for sparking controversy, yet a recent episode featured a question and answer that led to backlash and outrage.
As Al Jazeera reports, it took place during Friday’s broadcast of the beloved game show when contestant Katie Needle chose the category “Where’s the Church?” Her clue: “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.”
Needle’s answer was Palestine, which host Alex Trebek told her was incorrect.
Fellow contestant Jack McGuire then buzzed in to offer Israel as the answer, which was deemed to be correct.
According to National Geographic, Bethlehem is described as a “hostage” of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Geographically, Bethlehem is located in Palestine, but within territory that is currently occupied by Israel, making what was likely meant as a simple question to become quite a loaded one.
Given the controversy that continues to surround the Israel-Palestine conflict, “Jeopardy!” unexpectedly found itself in the midst of a geopolitical conflict. Twitter users were quick to weigh in.
On Monday, “Jeopardy!” producers explained how the complicated nature of the clue was actually flagged during the game. The contestants’ scores were reversed and the outcome of the game was unaffected. Somehow, they accidentally aired the wrong footage.
“In the process of taping this clue, ‘BUILT IN THE 300s A.D., THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY’ we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic,” the producers said in a statement to Deadline.
“In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out,” they added. “We restored Katie’s and Jack’s scores to what they were prior to the clue. The outcome of the game was not affected. We then continued the game with this replacement clue.
“Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast,” the producers concluded. “We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.”