‘Jeopardy!’ question about Bethlehem shouldn’t have aired, producers say
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‘Jeopardy!’ question about Bethlehem shouldn’t have aired, producers say

Episode led to a social media backlash after contestants offered different takes on which country is home to the historic Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city

Tourists and Christian pilgrims take pictures outside of the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus's birth, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 12, 2018. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
Tourists and Christian pilgrims take pictures outside of the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus's birth, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 12, 2018. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

JTA — The producers of “Jeopardy!” said a question about where Jesus’ birthplace is located – eliciting the answers Palestine and Israel – should never have been aired.

After realizing that “determining an acceptable response would be problematic,” the popular primetime game show canceled the question and substituted a new one. But the corrected version was not aired.

Here’s what happened: At the end of the first round on Friday night, one answer remained in the $200 slot under the heading “Where’s that Church?”

The clue: “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.”

Contestants on the Jeopardy! show aired January 13, 2020. (Twitter screen capture)

Returning champion Katie Needle of New York City buzzed in with the question “What is Palestine?” Host Alex Trebek said she was incorrect.

Jack McGuire of San Antonio, Texas, who was third at the time among the three contestants, then buzzed in with “What is Israel?” earning the $200.

The producers said Monday night in a statement that while taping the Church of the Nativity clue, “we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic. In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out,” substituting a replacement clue. It did not affect the outcome of the game, they said.

“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,” the statement said.

Following the airing of the original question, social media went into overdrive, with many insisting Needle was right and others doubling down on Israel as the correct answer.

The replacement clue was “The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” which McGuire answered correctly with “What is Mexico?”

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