“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak is facing backlash after he mocked a contestant’s speech impediment on Monday’s episode of the game show.
The incident happened during the episode’s player introductions, when contestant Chris Brimble spoke with a noticeable lisp while describing his job as a tech salesman. Instead of replying, “I see,” Sajak mimicked Brimble’s lisp by saying, “I thee.”
Viewers lashed out on Twitter after the episode, with some replying to an unrelated tweet Sajak sent last week, in which he wrote, “How nice for those who have lived such exemplary lives that they can express glee when others have their lives ruined by a mistake, real or perceived.”
Hopefully you learned by your mistake and stop making fun of those with a lisp,” one viewer said in response to the host’s Feb. 17 tweet. “As a woman who has lived all her life with one (and my parents put me in speech classes when I was first going to school as a youngster), I find it appalling that you do that kind of crap.”
“As someone your age, who grew up with hearing impaired cousins, I was taught that we NEVER made fun of their speech pattern,” another viewer tweeted. “To this day I wouldn’t even think of doing what you did so don’t get on your ‘exemplary’ high horse about it. You were 100% wrong. Own it and DO BETTER!”
This is far from the first time the “Wheel of Fortune” host has come under fire for “teasing” contestants. Back in December, Sajak was criticized for snapping at an overexcited player who interrupted him before a sponsor advertisement. That came on the heels of him calling another contestant “ungrateful.”
— phil (@nicolegphil) February 23, 2021