‘Wheel of Fortune’ Fans Aren’t Impressed With Pat Sajak’s Cringe ‘Joke’ to Vanna White

Even if you don’t consider yourself a regular Wheel of Fortune watcher, you might’ve heard about the latest gaffe involving the game show’s longtime host. In a recent episode, Pat Sajak makes a comment to his letter-turning colleague, Vanna White — only it doesn’t come off as the “joke” he intended it to be. Social media quickly lit up with a flurry of “did he really say that” type comments. And digging in, it does make you wonder what he was thinking.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ stars Pat Sajak and Vanna White are game show royalty

Vanna White and Pat Sajak speak at a Walk of Fame ceremony honoring Harry Friedman
Wheel of Fortune stars Vanna White and Pat Sajak | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Can you believe Pat Sajak and Vanna White have starred on Wheel of Fortune for almost 40 years? Sajak began hosting the game show in 1981; White began appearing on the series one year later. In TV land, this is more than a long time for any program with substantial staying power. Together, the duo has encouraged players and been a downright staple in game show history. They’re practically royalty.

Pat Sajak is likely nearing retirement, although he hasn’t made plans to do so at his ripe old age of 75. Vanna White, who continues to be a soft-spoken and elegant presence on the show as the letter-turner, is now 65 years old.

When you’ve known each other for so long, you can say anything, right?

The New York Post shared the story about a bizarre comment that Sajak made on April 13, 2022. It left fans scratching their heads and taking to social media. During Wednesday’s episode, he asked White a question that seemed benign at first. But within a matter of moments, it was as if everyone recognized just how off-putting and over-the-line it was, Sajak included.

Wheel of Fortune contestant, Ashley Fabian, was well on her way to game-show victory. She had scored $67,410 throughout regular gameplay and via the bonus puzzle. But she soon found herself in the middle of an awkward situation. The conversation involved Fabian initially because she herself is a professional opera singer. Sajak pivoted casual conversation about opera to White when he asked her, “Are you an opera buff at all?” White responded, saying she wasn’t necessarily a “buff” but that she did like opera.

Here’s where it went sideways. Instead of letting the conversation fade naturally or returning to the contestants and gameplay, Sajak kept going about opera. He said, “Have you ever watched opera in the buff?” And added, “I’m just curious.” Insert a dramatic pause, and White quickly responded, “No,” with a subtle laugh, seeming to brush off the question entirely.

Fans react to Pat Sajak’s cringe comment about Vanna White

It wasn’t just the contestants on the show and White herself who seemed to raise an eyebrow at Sajak’s line of questions. Fans took quickly to social media to roll their eyes and groan at the game show host’s blunder. Good Housekeeping reported about how most fans found the comment “pointless.”

Scrolling the Twitter feeds, you can see a few hashtags trending, including one commenter who posted, “I feel like I just witnessed a #metoo moment.” Another post, now deleted, “Someone please replace this man.” Even more, tweets share similar sentiments, like “are you serious” and “gross.”

No one has officially responded to comment on the cringe “joke” from Wheel of Fortune. And it doesn’t look like game show fans will let up on Sajak anytime soon. It’s hard to say how White feels about these moments or if Sajak has privately offered an apology. 

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