The enduring television show Wheel of Fortune apologized for an image broadcast as a part of their "Southern Charm" week that contained two Black women seemingly dressed as plantation-era slaves.
"We regret the use of this background image, and we will be replacing it moving forward on any re-broadcast," longtime executive producer of the show Harry Friedman told the New York Daily News. The image, a photograph used as background during the June 15 broadcast, is of a plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. Twitter user Joshua Itiola noticed the two anachronistic figures during the broadcast and shared a video of the image.
Other Twitter users theorized that, as the image is of a plantation, it's possible the two women were tour guides, dressed in period attire, who happened to be Black. According to Fox News, the house is Oak Valley Plantation — a spokesperson for the plantation said that they do not employ actors to portray "slaves," but, as Twitter suggested, hire tour guides that dress in Civil War-era clothing. The photo itself was taken in 2005.
Some Twitter users are attributing the photo to Pat Sajak, the host of the show and an outspoken conservative.
"Not surprised since Pat Sajak is an ultra-right-wing, climate-change-denying, trump-adoring scuzzball," one writes. Or, in other Twitter words, "Pat Sajak is a right-wing ideologue so it's not surprising at all. "
Indeed, the Wheel of Fortune host, who has yet to comment on the controversy, is an outspoken conservative. His Tweets range from irreverent "dad jokes" to irreverent "liberals are sensitive" jokes, like this one: "The next big movement: Plants Rights. No kidding. 5-10 years away, tops. (Painless harvesting, ethical salads, etc.)"
Perhaps most famously, Sajak wrote in since-deleted Tweet in 2014, "I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night." (Vice gave a thorough report of his various Tweets at the time.)
It's not likely Sajak has any say in what images show up on the show, but still.
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