Fans are puzzled over Pat Sajak’s alleged rude behavior.
During the contestant introductions on Monday’s episode, the 74-year-old was chatting with Chris Brimble, who spoke with a lisp. After Brimble described his job as tech salesman, instead of responding “I see,” Sajak said, “I thee.”
While the comment appeared to get some laughs from people off screen, many viewers took to Twitter to voice their disdain.
"Did @patsajak just mock one of the contestants??" one wrote.
“...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,” added another.
While others criticized the longtime host’s behavior by replying to a tweet Sajak posted last week, in which he wrote: “How nice for those who have lived such exemplary lives that they can express glee when others have their lives ruined by a mistake, real or perceived.”
“Hopefully you learned by your mistake and stop making fun of those with a lisp,” replied one user. “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.”
While another added: “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.”
Neither Sajak nor “Wheel of Fortune” has publicly commented on the controversy.
Brimble wound up winning $12,250, but didn’t advance to the bonus puzzle.