In hot water. Wheel of Fortune fans came to a player’s defense after host Pat Sajak mocked his introduction story during a recent episode of the show.
When contestant Scott Ingwersen got his turn at the wheel during the Wednesday, March 9, episode of the game show, he told a story about nearly losing his big toe because he wanted to thank the first responders who helped him.
“It’s important to know that when I was 12 years old, I was riding a 10-speed bike with flip-flops, and I fell and completely cut off the top of my toe,” Ingwersen said. “The next car that came by were two paramedics that were on their way to a job, and they said, ‘It’s just a laceration.’ But I didn’t know what that was, so it freaked me out even more. And my toe is reattached, and I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to them 30 years later.”
While the audience clapped for Ingwersen, the longtime host, 75, couldn’t hide his feelings about the tale. “That may have been the most pointless story ever told,” the Chicago native said, shaking his head. “And you told it, Scott. Congratulations to you.”
Fans immediately came to Ingwersen’s defense via social media. “Not the 1st time he’s been rude; Pat Sajak is just a grumpy old dude now,” tweeted one viewer. “When did #Patsajak get so cold-blooded?” asked another surprised Twitter user. “I felt so bad for the contestant. Pat Sajak should be well aware of how mean it is to belittle someone on nationwide television,” added one fan.
The controversy came just days after Sajak asked viewers to have some empathy for three Wheel of Fortune contestants who repeatedly flubbed a puzzle solve. The trio had trouble coming up with the answer for “another feather in your cap,” offering guesses including “another feather in your map” and “another feather in your lap.”
After Twitter users including Josh Gad poked fun at the players, the Daytime Emmy winner encouraged fans to hold back their criticism.
“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 tweeted on March 2. “I’ve been praised online for ‘keeping it together’ and not making fun of the players. Truth is, all I want to do is help to get them through it and convince them that those things happen even to very bright people.”