'Jeopardy!': 'Emancipation' Misspelling Costs Thomas Hurley $3000, Host Alex Trebek Chastised For Callous Reaction [VIDEO]

By Philip Ross on August 5, 2013 4:26 PM EDT

jeopardy emancipation
A “Jeopardy!” “emancipation” spelling error has caused quite a controversy after a young contestant’s minor mistake cost him the final answer. (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

A "Jeopardy!" "emancipation" misspelling cost one young contestant his final answer - and $3,000. During a "Jeopardy!" Kids Week episode on Wednesday, 12-year-old contestant Thomas Hurley accidently added an extra "t" to his answer - making it "Emanciptation Proclamation." "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek told Hurley his answer was "badly" misspelled and could not be accepted, sending the Internet into a frenzy over his callous reaction to the student's trivial error.

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The final "Jeopardy!" question was: "Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, 'A fit and necessary war measure.'"

"If you saw the movie 'Lincoln' this year, it would've been a big help to you," Trebek quipped. The three contestants quickly wrote down their answers.

The first contestant, a young grader's answer, seemingly thrilled that Hurley had apparently answered correctly, the host hesitated, then recanted.

"Well, because he spelled it badly ... that's unfortunate, the judges are ruling against you," Trebek told Hurley.

When it came time for the next contestant, Skyler Hornback, to show his answer, he also answered "Emancipation Proclamation," spelled correctly.

"Let's see if he came up with the Emancipation Proclamation," Trebek said. "He did and it is spelled correctly."

Jeopardy's Facebook page is full of supporters of Hurley, who say the outcome of the "Jeopardy!" "emancipation" error isn't fair.

"Poor kid. Even if he misspelled it, Alex didn't have to be a jerk about it. I'm sure if the kid just had to say it, it would have been fine," one commenter wrote.

"It's the public shaming Alex gave that's the most disappointing issue, not Jeopardy's decision to rule the written response incorrect due to a minor misspelling," another noted.

In a statement to the Huffington Post and CNN, "Jeopardy!" respondedgirl, answered "Second Amendment." Trebek told her this was not the right answer, and she lost $3,200. Then came Hurley's turn. As Trebek read out the 8th- to the "Jeopardy!" "emancipation" debacle:

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

"The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug," his father, Thomas Hurley II, told CNN. "It's a kid's tournament! Everyone knew what he meant."

Watch the "Jeopardy!" "emancipation" clip here:

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