Pat Sajak, longtime Wheel of Fortune host, has come under fire for the way he seemingly mocked a contestant with a speech impediment on the show. On Monday's new episode of the popular game show, Sajak was introducing contest Chris Brimble at the start of the program. While revealing what he did for a living, Brimble spoke with a slight lisp, and at the end of the contestant's introduction, Sajak seemed to poke fun at the way Brimble spoke.
"I thee," Sajak said, instead of "I see."
On the program, Pat Sajak quickly moved on as Brimble and the others played Wheel of Fortune as normal. Still, the moment didn't go unnoticed by many fans of the show who were appalled to hear the host making light of a contestant's impediment. It wasn't long before social media began filling up with people expressing their outrage with some even calling for Sajak to step down from his hosting duties.
"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," writes one irate fan on Twitter.
"It's time for you to retire," agrees another fan.
"Hopefully you learned by your mistake and stop making fun of those with a lisp," another Wheel of Fortune fan tweeted directly to Sajak. "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."
Another heated tweet reads, "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!"
"There's a clear reason why Trebek was always a better host than you," another fan coldly tells Sajak.
"You deserve to be criticized for mocking a person's speech impediment. It wasn't funny or necessary. Cheap shot. Perhaps, you've had this gig for too long," reads another tweet.
Sajak has been serving as the host of Wheel of Fortune for about four decades, first taking on the gig in the early 1980s. During his run, he has picked up 19 nominations for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host with three wins. Sajak also has the record for having the longest career as a game show host for the same show and is signed to remain as the host until at least 2022. As of now, Sajak has not yet provided an official comment on the backlash to Monday's episode of Wheel of Fortune or the social media calls for him to step down as the host.