A quiz contestant who missed a large cash prize – because the judge claimed that he mispronounced “Tony Hadley” – was awarded the money after being turned around by a radio station.
When Singaporean Muhammad Shalehan was denied a prize of $ 10,000 (£ 5,760; US $ 7,060), singer Spandau Ballet sent a video of support.
But the radio station insisted that Shalehan was wrong – until now.
On Friday, Gold 905 said they were “very sorry” and gifted money.
“Because Tony Hadley said that Mr. Shalehan said his name correctly, who did we disagree with?” said the station on Facebook.
Shalehan – a father of three children, with a new baby born in August – told the BBC that he was “very surprised” but “very happy”.
“I would not have done it without Mr Tony Hadley’s help,” he said.
What is the quiz controversy?
On March 16, Gold 905 – a station owned by the Singapore media giant – began the quiz “Celebrity Name Drop”.
Players must identify 14 celebrities, each saying one word from the phrase: “Gold 9-0-5, a station that sounds good, and makes you feel good.”
It’s hard to identify even one celebrity – let alone 14. But, by listening to other people’s answers, the listener can – for several weeks – put together a puzzle.
Shalehan called hundreds of times, and managed to air twice – but didn’t get the right answer.
On April 21, he finally thought he had all 14 answers – only to be told he had scored 13.
But on May 6, another caller said the exact same answer – and was awarded $ 10,000.
When Shalehan questioned the decision, the station said he had mispronounced Tony Hadley on April 21 (see clip further down).
How was Tony Hadley involved?
After his complaint was deaf, Shalehan found Tony Hadley’s manager online and sent him an email.
To Shalehan’s surprise, the Spandau Ballet singer responded with a video, supporting his pronunciation.
“You may have a slight accent, but as far as I know, you say my name correctly,” said Mr Hadley.
Mr Shalehan sent the video to the radio station, but they were not moved.
When the BBC contacts the radio station to Thursday story, they offered Shalehan $ 5,000, but still insisted that the pronunciation was wrong.
When announcing that “gesture of good intentions”, the station posted a clip of Shalehan’s pronunciation, alongside Tony Hadley’s version, and a winning entry.
Despite having loans to repay, and a growing family, Shalehan – a railroad worker – is unsure whether to receive $ 5,000.
“I’m not after the money,” he said. “I pursue justice, equality, fair play.”
What did the radio station say on Friday?
This story was originally covered in early May by the Singapore website Hype and Stuff, but gathered momentum after Mr Hadley’s intervention.
On Friday morning, the station reversed their decision.
“Thank you for all your feedback and posts,” they said. “We have contacted Mr. Shalehan again to say that we are very sorry.”
How is Mr. Shalehan’s reaction?
The 32-year-old man told the BBC that he slept on Friday morning when his wife saw an email from a radio station.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “I honestly feel happy that justice has been served.”
Father-in-law Shalehan, the taxi driver, who initially persuaded him to take the quiz.
“When my wife told him the news, she really shouted with joy,” he said. “We don’t even need a speakerphone, we can hear it.”
Shalehan has accepted the offer and apology from the station – and thanked British pop stars in other parts of the world for making it happen.
“My message to Mr. Tony Hadley is a big, big, big thank you. The video is very good, a great game-changer.”
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