During Monday’s game of Wheel of Fortune, Pat Sajak made a joke that’s garnered criticism online. A contestant with a lisp spoke with Sajak during the interview portion of the game. At one point Sajak took to mimicking the contestant’s manner of speaking.
Following the attempted joke viewers online criticized Sajak on Twitter. The posts deemed his manner of interviewing and joking as mean-spirited, Yahoo reports. They also asked the host to tap into some feelings of sympathy or empathy.
Pat Sajak conducts an interview with contestant Chris Brimble
On Monday Night, Wheel of Fortune hosted contestant Chris Brimble. During the interview, Sajak asked Brimble what he does for a living. He explained that his job involves bringing technology to senior citizens so they can enjoy the opportunities and flexibility such gear provides. As he spoke, Brimble did reveal himself to have a slight lisp. A lisp prevents an individual from properly pronouncing certain consonants, most commonly the letter s. About 23% of people have actually had some form of a lisp in their lifetime, making it relatively common.
Sajak commended that occupation as very worthwhile and mused over an uphill battle. Brimble assured him, “You’d be surprised how open they [seniors] are” to using the service. Sajak noted with surprise that what he’d heard to the contrary must have been a myth, which Brimble confirmed. That’s when Sajak responded, “I thee,” instead of saying “I see,” mimicking Brimble’s speech pattern.
Fans respond to Pat Sajak imitating the contestant’s lisp
@patsajak There’s a clear reason why Trebek was always a better host than you.
— Jeff (@SonOfGrundy) February 23, 2021
During their Q&A round, Brimble gave the pronunciation little notice, and seems to chuckle before Sajak moves onto asking about marriage. But fans online shared their outrage on Twitter. “Thanks for making fun of people with a lisp on tonight’s show you arrogant overpaid jerk – Pat Sajak,” wrote one user. “Quit now. Maybe if you grew up with a speech impediment you’d understand.” Another user penned, “There’s a clear reason why Trebek was always a better host than you.”
Thanks for making fun of people with a lisp on tonight’s show you arrogant overpaid jerk – Pat Sajak. Quit now. Maybe if you grew up with a speech impediment you’d understand. #WheelOfFortune #patsajak #speechimpediment #lisp #patsajaksucks
— mcsqueebage (@mcsqueebage) February 21, 2021
Another user replied to an earlier Tweet Sajak himself had made on February 17, in which Sajak 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.” The user replied, “Hopefully you learned by your mistake and stop making fun of those with a lisp. 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.”
Hopefully you learned by your mistake and stop making fun of those with a lisp. 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.
— Lissy Dunning (@DunningLissy) February 23, 2021
Brimble walked away from that night’s game with $12,250, though he fell short of advancing to the bonus puzzle, according to Yahoo.
— phil (@nicolegphil) February 23, 2021