‘Jeopardy!’ Responds To Major Backlash Over Controversial Bethlehem Question
"Jeopardy" is in trouble this week over a question about the birthplace of Jesus Christ which indicated that Bethlehem is in Israel instead of Palestine.
The beloved game show “Jeopardy!” found itself in hot water over a controversial question about the birthplace of Jesus Christ on Friday. The accepted answer indicated that Bethlehem is in Israel rather than Palestine. Now, the show’s producers have broken their silence to address the controversy.
“Jeopardy!” Controversy Explained
Yahoo News reported that it all started when contestant Katie Needle took a question in the “Where’s That Church?” category. She was then given a clue about the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which Christians believe is where Jesus was born.
Katie answered that the church was in Palestine, but host Alex Trebek said this was incorrect.
Katie’s opponent Jack McGuire then buzzed in and said Israel. And he was subsequently awarded $200 for giving what the show deemed to be the correct answer.
Online outrage immediately ensued from Palestinian rights advocacy groups who pointed out that Bethlehem is geographically located in Palestine. Even if the contested city sits on a territory that is currently occupied by Israel in the West Bank.
— Chris Whitman (@ChrisWhitman11) January 11, 2020
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“Jeopardy!” Addresses Bethlehem Question
“Jeopardy” released a statement yesterday to blame the gaffe on “human error in post-production.”
“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 statement said.
“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. The outcome of the game was not affected.”
“Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast,” the producers of the long-running game show continued. “We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.”
Backlash Over Bethlehem Clue Continues To Escalate
Nevertheless, the backlash against “Jeopardy” for this controversy continues.
“Jeopardy you have lost a lifetime viewer,” one social media user comment. “Completely unacceptable that you deny that the Church of the Nativity is in Bethlehem, Palestine and insist that it is in Israel. Thank you Katie for telling the truth.. your look towards Alex was priceless.”
“Unacceptable!! Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territories which Israel illegally occupies (Katie Needle got the correct answer & was robbed),” another user tweeted. “@Jeopardy owes an apology for endorsing Israel’s universally-condemned illegal takeover of Palestinian lands.”
Needle herself addressed the controversy as well, tweeting, “Thanks! Palestine should be free.”
Thanks! Palestine should be free 🇵🇸
— Katie Needle (@katieee817) January 11, 2020
It remains to be seen whether this controversy will impact viewership of “Jeopardy!” in the coming days.