Wheel of Fortune Apologizes for Using Slave Images

Twitter screenshot

Wheel of Fortune—the game show that stole the concept of the kindergarten-game hangman and turned it into a $100 million empire—has apologized for using slave imagery in a March episode.

The New York Daily News reports that Wheel of Fortune producers issued an apology for including images of slaves during the show after a viewer shared them on Twitter.


In the episode that originally aired in March during Slave Week “Southern Charm Week,” a plantation can be seen behind Pat Sajak and Vanna White (also known as “the white Kiki Shepard”) with slaves mingling about in the foreground. The images were reportedly captured at the Oak Alley Plantation in 2005.

“We regret the use of this background image,” said Executive Producer Harry Friedman, adding that they will replace the images in future rebroadcasts of the episode.

This redneck-spelling-bee debacle raises a few interesting points:

Who still watches Wheel of Fortune? Who thought it was a good idea to put pictures of slaves in promotional material in 2005? Did the Wheel of Fortune people look at the pictures and say, “Yeah, these are perfect”? And most importantly:

Who the hell are the black people who agreed to dress up like slaves and take pictures in front of a plantation in 2005?


That’s why I only watch Jeopardy!—Alex Trebek would never stand for this.

The Root would like to solve the puzzle as soon as we find out what the f_ck is going on, but until then, feel free to buy a vowel.

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Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.