A Connecticut eighth-grader who misspelled the correct answer during 'Jeopardy!', claims he was cheated.
Thomas Hurley III correctly answered the final 'Jeopardy!' question about the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. But host Alex Trebek ruled his answer out as he misspelled "emanciptation".
The 12-year-old bet $3,000 of his $9,600 in winnings on the final question. As a result of the spelling error he walked away with $2,000 as the runner-up. His rival amassed $66,600.
"I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final 'Jeopardy!' question," he told The News-Times of Danbury. "It was just a spelling error."
"It's just upsetting to have lost that way. I don't know why it would have counted as the wrong answer."
In an email, producers of 'Jeopardy!' defended Trebek's decision.
"If 'Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players," they said. "We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."
His mother Suzanne said it was hard to watch.
"It's generated a little bit of controversy," Hurley's mother admitted. "He was a little stunned by it. He felt embarrassed.''
Hundreds of viewers took the game show's Facebook page to vent their anger over the decision.
"Alex didn't need to insult this kid's spelling, and many people feel that Thomas is owed an apology,'' Susan Jackson, of Wingdale, N.Y. wrote.
The Kids Jeopardy! program was filmed in February and broadcast last week.