‘Wheel of Fortune’ Slammed for Using Backdrop That Appears to Feature Slaves

Vanna White Pat Sajak Wheel of Fortune
Vanna White and Pat Sajak on 'Wheel of Fortune.' 

Wheel of Fortune has come under fire for using a backdrop that appeared to feature slaves during the game show’s “Southern Charm” week, which originally aired in March but was re-run last week.

“Someone please tell me why @WheelofFortune has slaves in their ‘Southern Charm Week’ images?” an irate viewer wrote on Twitter on Thursday, June 15. The user shared a clip of the episode, which appeared to show two African American women slaves working outside of a mansion.

The tweet quickly went viral, prompting Wheel of Fortune executive producer Harry Friedman to release an apology. “We regret the use of this background image, and we will be replacing it moving forward on any rebroadcast,” Friedman said in a statement to the New York Daily News.

Vanna White Pat Sajak Wheel of Fortune
Vanna White and Pat Sajak Wheel of Fortune Brian Ach/WireImage.com

According to the outlet, the backdrop footage was filmed in 2005 during an on-location shoot at the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. A spokesperson for the plantation told the Daily News that its tour guides do not portray slaves but do wear period clothing similar to the Annabelle-style hoop skirts seen in the Wheel of Fortune backdrop. The spokesperson added that the historic landmark hires people of all races for the roles.

Despite Friedman’s apology, Twitter users continued to share their outrage over the clip. “This is absolutely ridiculous. Wtf is happening to our country???? @WheelofFortune,” one user wrote. Another added, “Many MANY people green-lighted this, that’s how you know that there are no POC in that team.”

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