'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak faces backlash for making fun of contestant with a speech impediment
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The longtime game show host was trying to keep things light during Monday’s show as he was introducing contestants. While doing so, Sajak spoke with contestant Chris Brimble. After explaining to the host what he does for a living, it became clear to viewers and the host that Brimble speaks with a slight lisp.
Sajak heard him out and even commented on the importance of his job, bringing technology to older adults. However, the host concluded the brief interview by saying "I thee" instead of "I see."
While Brimble simply laughed the moment off, viewers who were upset about the Sajak's apparent mockery of the contestant’s speech impediment took to Twitter to voice their outrage.
"Did @patsajak just mock one of the contestants??" one user wrote.
"@patsajak Hey d----bag, say a cheap shot making fun of a contestant with a lisp. I teach speech therapy. You have been on the air for far too long. It's time for you to retire. Your sarcasm is offensive and only funny to idiots such as yourself," added one particularly angry viewer.
"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," a third user wrote.
"As someone your age, who grew up with hearing impaired cousins, I was taught that we NEVER made fun of their speech pattern. 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!" another user added.
'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak caught backlash for mocking a contestant with a speech impediment. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
"@patsajak There’s a clear reason why Trebek was always a better host than you," another infuriated viewer wrote.
"@patsajak you must be a Trumpster supporter making fun of people with speech impediments. You are in my mind a tiny speck of nothing! Producers time to get rid of this overpaid moron and get someone decent hosting the show! You stink sajak!!" wrote another.
Representatives for Sajak did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
According to Yahoo Entertainment, Brimble’s game did not appear to be thrown off in the slightest by the host’s jab. He went on to earn $12,250 in prize money but fell just short of advancing onto the bonus puzzle and earning the win.
At the end of the show, Sajak touched upon one moment from his interview with the contestant that had nothing to do with the offending joke. Brimble questioned how long one has to be married before they’re no longer considered a "newlywed"?
"You know I’ve been married 31 years and I still feel like a newlywed," Sajak told co-host Vana White at the close of the show to applause from the crowd. "It’s going to be a big night at the Sajak house."