Over the past several months, we’ve posted a number of Wheel of Fortune snafus on our website.
Remember the contestant who was a single letter away from spelling “A Streetcar Named Desire,” only to somehow guess wildly wrong?
Or the one who apparently never read or watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?
Those were both pretty embarrassing incidents.
But neither compares to the humiliating situation in which the show as a whole now finds itself.
Last week, the beloved game show re-aired a March episode that featured the theme of “Southern Charm.” So far, so harmless, right?
Except an astute viewer noticed at one point that the video in the background while Pat Sajak was talking to Vanna White depicted a plantation and what most definitely appeared to be a pair of slaves.
Southern? Yes. Charming? Not so much.
“Someone please tell me why @WheelofFortune has slaves in their ‘Southern Charm Week’ images?” wrote the social media user who shared the following image online yesterday:
The Tweet quickly went viral, prompting Wheel of Fortune executive producer Harry Friedman to release a mea culpa.
“We regret the use of this background image, and we will be replacing it moving forward on any rebroadcast,” he said in a statement to The New York Daily News.
Here’s a closer look at the controversial snapshot in question:
According to the aforementioned newspaper, the footage in question was filmed in 2005 during an on-location shoot at the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana.
A spokesperson for the plantation explained to the publication that its tour guides do NOT portray slaves … but they do wear period clothing similar to the Annabelle-style hoop skirts seen in the Wheel of Fortune backdrop.
The spokesperson also said this landmark hires people of all races for these roles.
We guess we buy that.
But this story is still pretty random and hilarious.
And, despite Friedman’s apology and attempt at an explanation, Twitter users continued to share their anger over the clip.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. Wtf is happening to our country???? @WheelofFortune,” one user wrote, while another chimed in as follows:
“Many MANY people green-lighted this, that’s how you know that there are no POC in that team.”
POC, it’s worth noting, is an acronym for People of Color.
At times like this, we’re all Pat Sajak walking off the set.
Come on, Wheel of Fortune. Do better.