When contestant Ashley Fabian appeared on the game show, it was revealed that she is a professional opera singer, which led to an odd exchange between Sajak and White.
“Are you an opera buff at all?” Sajak asked, to which White, 65, responded, “I’m not a buff, but I like opera.”
Sajak then tried to make a joke that left many at home cringing. “Have you ever watched opera in the buff? I’m just curious.”
White responded with “No,” and seemed to shrug the remark off.
But people at home quickly took to social media to lambast the 75-year-old game show host for the off-colour question.
“@WheelofFortune someone please replace this man. @patsajak is absolutely inappropriate asking @TheVannaWhite if she’s watched opera naked? Are you serious? Gross,” one person tweeted, while another added, “I feel like I just witnessed a #metoo moment on @WheelofFortune.”
“These are filmed three months in advance. They could edit this crap. Please Pat. Retire. You have lost your filter,” a third person chimed.
A fourth viewer questioned the appropriateness of the comment airing on a family-friendly show. “When did this game show turn into Wheel of Fortune After Dark?” they asked.
White and Sajak have worked together for 30 years on Wheel of Fortune and this most recent comment follows a series of incidents that have rocked the show in recent months.
In early April, fans were miffed after Chris Davidson lost out on a trip to Puerto Rico after he made a rookie mistake when he went for the solve.
Davidson added an “a” when he gave the correct answer “Frozen Concoction.”
“Chris knows what he did,” Sajak said “He threw in that article. He threw in the ‘a’ in front of it, and we can’t accept it. Just the way it goes. It’s just one of the rules, and we gotta go by ’em, and Carol ends up getting the trip to Puerto Rico.”
On social media, fans called the rule “outdated” with one person writing, “What he said was, ‘Uh… frozen concoction.’ It wasn’t an article it was a brief, commonplace stammer, after which he paused. A contestant with a severe speech impediment wouldn’t stand a chance of winning! That would be a clear-cut case of disability discrimination.”
Last month, Wheel made headlines for a variety of mishaps, including an episode in which three players couldn’t solve “Renting a Pedal Boat” with just a few letters missing.
Another trio of contestants also failed to answer another seemingly easy phrase: “Another Feather in Your Cap”, which forced Sajak to leap to their defence.
“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,” he said in a Twitter thread.
Fans also pounced on Sajak after he mocked a contestant’s introduction story during another recent episode.
When Scott Ingwersen’s turn at the Wheel came, he decided to tell the story of how he suffered a scary bike fall when he was a boy.
“You had your big toe chopped off,” Sajak said incredulously. “Why are you telling this? … That may have been the most pointless story ever told. And you told it, Scott. Congratulations to you.”
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