Jeopardy! sparks outrage after claiming that Bethlehem is not in Palestine

United States (QNN)- Popular American game show Jeopardy! has sparked outrage on Friday after a contestant was told she had the wrong answer after identifying Jesus’s place of birth, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, as being in Palestine.

The incident took place in round one of the game broadcast on Friday, when contestant Katie Needle was given the clue: “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity”, under the category “Where’s that Church?”.

Needle responded it was in Palestine but was told her answer was wrong.

Another contestant mistakenly said that the Church of the Nativity, the site in Bethlehem believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus, was in ‘Israel’, but was awarded $200 for what millions of viewers were told was the right answer.

Compounding the confusion, when the show returned from the break, Needle’s score had been adjusted to return the $200 she had been penalized for a wrong answer, but the money had not been taken away from the contestant who said the church was in ‘Israel’, Jack McGuire. The show’s host, Alex Trebek, did not explain the change in scores or offer an on-air correction, as he had earlier in the show when the judges decided after the fact that another answer had mistakenly been judged correct.

The Church of Nativity, a World Heritage Site, is located in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, which is internationally recognised as part of Palestine and literally walled off from ‘Israel’ by a massive concrete barrier, topped with watchtowers, constructed by the Israeli military.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which admitted Palestine as a member state in 2011, and added the Church of the Nativity to its list of World Heritage sites the following year, the site is in Palestine.

The occupation state occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 War, in a move the international community never recognised.

The Intercept reported that although the producers of “Jeopardy!” initially refused to comment, a witness who was in the studio for the taping last fall told The Newspaper that they appeared to be aware that they had made a mistake almost immediately. According to the source, who asked not to be identified for fear of violating a promise to keep the results of the prerecorded contest secret, audience members sensed that something was wrong when the show’s producers and writers clustered around Trebek during an extended pause in the taping at that stage.

After intense discussions, the host, whose mic remained on, could be heard saying in a low voice to the producers, “You’re going to have to explain it to them,” apparently instructing the staff to talk to the contestants. When the show’s staff did then address the contestants, a decision seemed to have been made to eliminate the question and both answers from the show, because the scores were reset to what they were before the question, and a new question was recorded in its place.

Needle, who visited Bethlehem last year, on Friday wrote on Twitter: “Palestine should be free.”

Sony Pictures Television, producer of Jeopardy!, admitted the mistake and clarified that an uncorrected version of the game was broadcast due to a “human error” in post-production.

“We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again,” it said in a statement released on Monday.

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