Jeopardy! fans rage after Ken Jennings accepts Emmett Stanton's 'illegible' written answer

Jeopardy! fans rage after Ken Jennings accepts Emmett Stanton's 'illegible' written answer
Ken Jennings accepted Emmett Stanton's illegible answer, enraging fans of the show (YouTube/A K VIDEO)

CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA: The new season of 'Jeopardy!' which premiered on September 12 saw alum Ken Jennings hosting until January 2023. On Monday, September 19, the game saw a game win but with a Final Jeopardy response that fans said they couldn't understand.

Before Season 39 kicked off, Ken and actress Mayim Bialik were officially announced as replacements for the late Alex Trebek. While Mayim faced her share of criticism while she was hosting, fans are not taking it easy on Jennings either. Just a few days ago, he was caught in a controversy when he allowed one player to correct his answer but cut off another from doing so on Wednesday, September 14. Now, fans are angry at him again for the September 19 episode.


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In Week 2 of Season 39 of Jeopardy!, the champion was Emmett Stanton, a freelance writer from Baltimore, Maryland, who had defeated the 5-time winner Luigi de Guzman on Friday, Sept 16.  He returned on Sept 19 to defend his title against Suzanne Goss, an oncology advertising consultant from Brooklyn, and Jason Freeman, an event producer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Scores going into the Final Jeopardy round were Suzanne at $8,600, Jason at $8,400, and Emmett at $8,000. In the last round, players had to write their responses and choose how much to risk. Emmett revealed his response and wager first, putting in a $8000 bet. It looked like he had the correct answer — "Emancipation Proclamation" but the second word he wrote was unclear. He had crossed out his first attempt,  and the next word, after 'Emancipation,' was an unreadable scrawl after the initial letters "Pr". Most fans deemed it illegible, wondering how Jennings read it as "Proclamation".


Jennings during the show had said, "what is the Emancipation..." then paused before saying "Proclamation" as the 48-year-old host himself took time to read it, before saying, "that is correct." Jason and Suzanne did not have the right answer, but since the latter only bet $6000, Suzanne would have won on technicality had his answer not been accepted. 

On Reddit, one user wrote, "I'm not sure how the judges accepted the writing on Final Jeopardy today. The first half worked, but the second... whew." Another said, "there's no possible way to translate that last half into Proclamation, regardless of observed intent." A third chimed in, "I am surprised they accepted Emmett's FJ response. That was very illegible to my eyes. (not to downtalk the contestant, because panic would likely make me do the same chicken scratch)." A fourth added that the word looked like, 'Imansupashun Proklomashin'.

This fresh controversy arose after viewers had already expressed their displeasure last week when show host Ken Jennings allowed contestant Luigi de Guzman to correct his answer, but did not give any leeway to another contestant, Harriet Wagner, in a similar situation on Sept 14. Luigi, who was already a four-time winner, went on to win the game once again.


Initially, had Luigi misidentified a British painter, calling him 'Constant' instead of 'Constable' but was allowed by Jennings to retract his answer and correct it. Soon after, another contestant, Wagner's answer was automatically labeled "wrong" by the co-host even though she quickly amended her answer. Fans of the show are furious, calling it an "unfair" and "biased" decision.

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