Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak came to the defense of the contestants featured on Tuesday night's episode who could not get the "feather in your cap" puzzle correct. A video of the full sequence of events quickly went viral on Twitter after the broadcast, leading to many making fun of the contestants. Sajak asked viewers to "cut them some slack" because the contestants were "in a bad situation under a kind of stress that you can't begin to appreciate from the comfort of your couch."
On Wednesday morning, Sajak posted a long statement on Twitter, defending the contestants. "It always pains me when nice people come on our show to play a game and win some money and maybe fulfill a lifelong dream, and are then subject to online ridicule when they make a mistake or something goes awry," he began. "Last night's 'Feather in your cap' puzzle was a case in point."
It always pains me when nice people come on our show to play a game and win some money and maybe fulfill a lifelong dream, and are then subject to online ridicule when they make a mistake or something goes awry.— Pat Sajak (@PatOnWheel) March 2, 2022
While it may seem "incredible" that the contestants couldn't solve it, Sajak understood what was really happening. After all, he has the kind of game show hosting experience few others have. He believed that once the "feather in your hat" guess turned out to be wrong, the contestants felt increased stress and pressure to get it right. Many people say "hat" instead of "cap," which may have thrown the contestants off.
"I've been praised online for 'keeping it together' and not making fun of the players. Truth is, all I want to do is help to get them through it and convince them that those things happen even to very bright people," Sajak wrote. "But mocking them online and calling them names? These are good people in a bad situation under a kind of stress that you can't begin to appreciate from the comfort of your couch."
Sajak noted that "good-natured laughing is one thing" and the contestants laughed at their own mistakes. However, Sajak asked fans to "cut them some slack," adding that unless you were in their position, you can't understand how the scene played out differently in the studio.
"I have fun with players and I tease them occasionally, but when things go wrong, I feel for them, and I try to salve the wounds on camera and off. So, yeah, it was an oddly entertaining puzzle and it's okay to laugh at the situation. But have a little heart," Sajak concluded. "After all, you may be there one day. And no one wants to be trending on Twitter."
During Tuesday's episode, the three contestants struggled to get "feather in your cap" correct. Contestant Laura made the first attempt to solve the puzzle, but she got it wrong because she said "hat" instead of "cap." Contestant Christopher also asked for letters that weren't in the puzzle. After two bad spins on the wheel, contestant Thomas finally got a chance to solve and correctly guessed "feather in your cap."
Although Wheel of Fortune is taped months in advance, producers aired the entire scene, including all the mistakes. A full clip of the scene quickly attracted attention from Twitter users, with many making jokes about the situation. "That might be one of the worst rounds in WOF history," one person tweeted.