Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak cast off his usual sarcasm and sardonic wit aimed at clueless guests on the show to defend contestants who were recently ridiculed on social media for failing to solve what audiences thought was an easy puzzle to solve.
Three Wheel of Fortune contestants from Tuesday night's episode went viral after they failed to solve the phrase, "Another Feather In Your Cap"–with only three letters remaining to complete the puzzle.
The players were stumped as they studied the board that read:
"Another Feather _n Yo_r _ap."
Social media users scorched the players and insulted their intelligence after it took eight turns and 10 attempts–inevitably leading to one player's "Bankruptcy" followed by a "Lose a Turn"–to solve the puzzle.
The next day, Sajak responded to the derision aimed at the contestants and defended them in a long Twitter thread.
"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 tweeted on Wednesday.
In spite of being notorious for some good-natured ribbing of the contestants for their humorous lapses in judgment, Sajak explained his genuine intentions.
He also offered a perspective in an effort to make trolls understand the pressure contestants face in the spotlight and in the heat of the moment.
Fans appreciated Sajak for taking the time to show some compassion and offer a glimpse into the minds of players on his show.
Others joined Sajak in defending the contestants and also explained why the puzzle wasn't exactly a no-brainer to solve.
Before the answer to the puzzle was revealed, Tuesday's contestants guessed "Another feather in your hat," "Another feather in your lap," and "Another feather in your map."
The subsequent examples of Twitter reactions jeering the contestants included one user, who said, "I’m still in disbelief over all three contestants missing it at least once. I was screaming so loudly that my mother thought there was another war breaking out! The last few episodes have blown my mind at the failure to solve simple puzzles."
Another said, "I did not know whether to cringe or laugh."
Wheel of Fortune is often reported by news outlets for its endless instances of players committing epic fails.
One player was mocked online for incorrectly guessing the three-word puzzle, "The Next Generation," by answering "The Best Buttercup," to which the game show host was heard responding off-camera:
"Uh, no. Oddly enough, no."