The producers of television game show Jeopardy have explained it was "human error" that led to them broadcasting a clip claiming that Bethlehem is in Israel, not Palestine.
The US show stirred up controversy during an episode which aired on Friday, January 10, in which contestants were asked to identify the location of the Church of the Nativity. The traditional birthplace of Jesus is found in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank.
Contestant Katie Needle answered first, stating that the holy site was located in Palestine. However, host Alex Trebek replied that the answer was incorrect, and docked Needle $200 (Dh734) for the "mistake".
Another contestant, Jack McGuire, then offered Israel as the correct answer, which host Trebek immediately accepted. The segment has understandably caused a lot of controversy on social media, with some vowing to never watch the show again.
The show’s producers have now released a statement in response to the criticism, saying that the question was never meant to air and should have been removed in post-production.
“In the process of taping this clue, we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic,” the statement, posted on the show’s official website reads. “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.”
The Church of the Nativity is one of Bethlehem's, and indeed Palestine's, biggest tourism draws. It is currently undergoing a historic renovation in a bid to boost visitor numbers in the city.
The renovation started in 2013, a year after Unesco declared the church a world heritage site.