“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak came to the defense of contestants who were mercilessly mocked this week for failing to solve a word puzzle many deemed insanely simple to crack.
As the New York Post noted, three contestants took eight turns and 10 total attempts to finally solve the missing letters in the following riddle: “Another feather _n yo_r _a_” (the answer was “Another feather in your cap”).
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Social media lit up with people incessantly teasing the contestants. But Sajak took to Twitter to come to their defense, reminding them things aren’t always what they seem.
“It always pains me when nice people come on our show to play a game and win some money and maybe fulfill a lifelong dream, and are then subject to online ridicule when they make a mistake or something goes awry,” he wrote.
But Sajak was nowhere near done with his rebuttal.
The TV host let people know in a string of tweets he understood what was happening with the contestants, despite critics’ dismay.
Watch the original clip that sparked critique:
I’d like to solve… ANOTHER FEATHER IN EVERYTHING BUT YOUR CAP.— WheelRob (@WheelRob10) March 2, 2022
Thank you, Wheel, for not editing out 6 of these 8 lost turns in a row like you normally would.#WheelofFortune pic.twitter.com/7MByDsn32p
“The first attempted solve was ‘Feather in your hat’ which, by the way, is how a lot of people say it. So all three players thought it was a good solve, and were stunned when I said it was wrong,” Sajak said before encouraging people to put themselves in the contestants’ shoes.
He continued, “Now imagine you’re on national TV, and you’re suddenly thrown a curve, and you begin getting worried about looking stupid, and if the feather isn’t in your hat, where the heck can it be? You start flailing away looking for alternatives rather than synonyms for ‘hat.'”
It always pains me when nice people come on our show to play a game and win some money and maybe fulfill a lifelong dream, and are then subject to online ridicule when they make a mistake or something goes awry.— Pat Sajak (@PatOnWheel) March 2, 2022
The “Wheel of Fortune” patriarch said he has been praised for not mocking the players during the show, but he had no interest in being mean or cruel; Sajak said he’s there to help and to let contestants who make these mistakes know they’re not alone and that these things “happen, even to very bright people.”
He then delivered a final message to those making fun of the contestants: it’s cruel and wrong.
“Mocking them online and calling them names? These are good people in a bad situation under a kind of stress that you can’t begin to appreciate from the comfort of your couch,” Sajak said. “Good-natured laughter is one thing. Heck, they laughed at themselves. But, hey, cut them some slack. Unless you’re there, you have no idea how different it is in the studio.”
In the end, he said he wants people to “have a little heart” and remember they, too, could end up in a similar circumstance one day. Here’s his entire commentary on the matter.
Sajak’s response is a kind gesture that offers an essential reminder to us all. Rather than mocking, remembering context is important. We can never go wrong with sympathy and kindness.
He could have ignored the entire ordeal, but we’re grateful the iconic TV host took some time to remind us all what truly matters.
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