Admitting his choice words and actions were wrong, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak has apologized to a contestant after he mocked her phobia.
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According to Fox News, the incident occurred in a recently aired episode of Wheel of Fortune. While speaking to contestant Ashley about her Ichthyophobia (aka fear of fish), Pat Sajak stated, “You don’t like fish. You don’t like to eat them, you don’t like to swim with them?” Ashley responded with, “Nothing, nothing at all. If they’re on a plate or in the water, I don’t want to be near them.”
After asking her what happened when she was a child to cause this phobia, Ashley said, “It’s a long story, Pat, we don’t have time.”
However, the conversation wasn’t quite finished for Pat Sajak. While Ashley scored the most money out of the episode’s contestants ($23,000), Sajak took things a bit too far by presenting her with a fake fish. “I have to go congratulate Ashley, can you do me a favor? I don’t want her to see this, just hold onto this,” he said when he handed the item to her.
As she laid eyes on the fake fish, Ashley quickly turned and groaned while putting her face in her hands. “Ashley, you all right?” Sajak asked. Although she laughed, Ashley refused to look at the fake fish. “You’ll forgive me for that, won’t you?” Pat then asked her. “I might,” she quietly answered.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Fans React to Pat Sajak’s Fake Fish Scene
Fans quickly took to Instagram to share their thoughts on the crazy interaction. “I’ve watched Wheel of Fortune on a daily basis for most of my life,” one fan wrote. “Tonight’s episode was just so wild. The fake fish thing at the end…never have I ever seen Pat pull these kinds of shenanigans. And you know he likes to be the funny guy.”
Another fan then declared, “I wanna know more about this gal! Why doesn’t she like fish??? Best contestant yet.” Other Wheel of Fortune viewers went on to say that Pat is shady and everyone who was upset needs to get over the joke.
The phobia incident happened the day after Pat Sajak was seen tugging on another contestant’s facial hair. While having a conversation about his beard, Greg Weichert of Florida told Sajak that he started the beard six years ago. “It made all the difference in the world,” he explained. After asking Weichert if kids pull on his beard, Sajak decided to tug on the facial air. “I’ve never done that, and I will never do it again,” he added.