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January 14, 2020 12:14 pm

‘Jeopardy!’ Apologizes for Airing ‘Flawed’ Bethlehem Clue, Blames ‘Human Error’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Contestants on Jeopardy! on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. Photo: Screenshot.

Producers of the popular game show “Jeopardy!” apologized on Monday for stirring controversy with a clue about the Church of Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem — where Christians believe Jesus was born — during its Friday night episode.

One of the clues in the “Where’s That Church?” category read, “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.” Contestant Katie Needle buzzed in first, replying, “What is Palestine?” but host Alex Trebek said her answer was incorrect. Fellow contestant Jack McGuire then buzzed in, answering, “What is Israel?” and his response was deemed correct.

Israel captured Bethlehem — along with the rest of the West Bank — from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1995, as part of the Oslo II Accord, Israel ceded political and military control of the city to the Palestinian Authority.

“Jeopardy!” producers published a video on Monday titled “Correction to Jeopardy! Bethlehem Clue.” In an accompanying statement, they explained they had never meant to air the Church of Nativity clue after concluding there was no clear correct answer.

“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 read. “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. We then continued the game with this replacement clue. Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast. We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.”

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