Alex Trebek, the host of "Jeopardy," is facing social media backlash after nearly bringing 12-year-old Thomas Hurley III to tears when he corrected the spelling of his final Jeopardy answer.
During "Jeopardy's" Kid Week contest, which was taped in February and aired on July 31, the contestants had to answer the final Jeopardy question "Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, 'a fit and necessary war measure,'" according to CNN.
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Hurley, of Connecticut, had the correct answer – Emancipation Proclamation -- but spelt it with an extra "t," "Emanciptation," and judges took $3,000 from him.
Trebek told Hurley that he "misspelled it badly. That's unfortunate. The judges are ruling against you."
Hurley wagered $3,000 on the answer and hung his head after the ruling. The Newtown Middle School student won $2,000 and placed second.
"I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final 'Jeopardy!' question," he told The News-Times of Danbury on Sunday.
"It was just a spelling error."
Hurley's father, Thomas Hurley II, slammed Jeopardy judges and Trebek for their lack of empathy in the situation that left his son stunned.
"The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug," Hurley II told CNN on Sunday. "It's a kids' tournament. Everyone knew what he meant. (Thomas) was barely holding it together, he was almost in tears. He had to relive it on Wednesday."
Jeopardy producers stood firm.
"If Jeopardy! were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players," Jeopardy told CNN in an emailed statement.
Many voiced their opposition to the way Trebek treated the boy on Jeopardy's Facebook page.
"I used to love Jeopardy, but how Alex treated that kid and embarrassed him was uncalled for," said Luke Tran in one of more 2,000 comments about the incident. "He called him out on his spelling saying it was badly misspelled when it wasn't that badly misspelled it was just misspelled slightly."
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