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‘Wheel of Fortune’ Fans Furious After Contestant Loses Prize Over Technicality: ‘You Have Hidden Rules’

Better luck next time? Wheel of Fortune fans called out the game show after a contestant lost out on scoring her own Audi Q3.

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During a Tuesday, December 21, episode of the long-running series, Charlene Rubush got a chance to compete in the bonus round after earning $16,500 earlier in the show. The “What Are You Doing?” category presented a puzzle that risked the contestant’s winnings.

Wheel Fortune Fans Furious After Contestant Loses Prize Over Technicality
‘Wheel of Fortune.’ ABC/Eric McCandless

Rubush originally guessed “Choosing the right card,” before adjusting her answer to “Choosing the right … word.” Although she got the right answer the second time around, her pause made host Pat Sajak rescind the prize due to a timing rule.

“You know, this one’s tough because you said all the right words, including the word ‘word’ but, as you know, it’s gotta be more or less continuous,” Sajak, 75, explained. “We’ll allow for a little pause but not four or five seconds. I’m sorry. You did a good job in getting it, but we can’t give you the prize, and it was the Audi.”

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Rubush left Wheel of Fortune with her $16,500 prize money and a vacation, but viewers quickly took to social media to question the technicality.

“@Audi can you please give this contestant the car she deserves. She won on @WheelofFortune and Pat denied her. I am no longer a ‘wheel watcher’ because of this,” one fan tweeted at the time.

Another social media user also revealed that the incident caused them to no longer support their favorite show, writing via Twitter, “@WheelofFortune well we had a good run. I won’t watch the show anymore. That lady won the AUDI, she answered the phrase within the timeframe allowed. You have hidden rules, fake show. Ill never watch again (unless she gets the AUDI ANNND the rule changes).”

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One Twitter user called out the ABC series for “the dumbest technicality ever” and reached out to Audi to request that they “make this right for Christmas” by giving Rubush a car. The episode upset a fourth viewer who joked, “I can’t choose the right ‘word’ to explain how the #WheelofFortune just took the Audi away from the person who correctly got the puzzle right but lost on a technicality. #Sad. #bahhumbug.”

This outrage comes one week after Wheel of Fortune made headlines for spelling rapper Yung Joc‘s name wrong in a segment. After using “Young Jock” as the answer, many people weren’t happy that contestant Kennise Miller wasn’t given another chance since the letters on the board didn’t allow for the right guess to begin with.

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