“Wheel of Fortune” contestant Christopher Coleman has had enough of his name being dragged through the mud.
Coleman appeared on Tuesday night’s “Wheel of Fortune” episode where he and fellow players, Thomas Lipscomb and Laura Machado, caused a ruckus when none guessed the correct answer to the puzzle: “Another feather in your cap.”
Coleman spoke out on Thursday about feeling ridiculed, telling TMZ about the widespread animosity he felt following the episode’s airing.
“This idiom [‘Another feather in your cap,’] is something I learned when I was 6 or 7 years old. But I haven’t heard it in over 30 years and so it has been a while for me,” he began.
“You are also under a lot of scrutiny and pressure when you’re in production,” Coleman said of being on the “Fortune” set. “A lot of people are sitting at home on the comfort of their own couch, yelling and screaming at the TV, when we [the contestants] are the ones in the moment and in real time, trying to guess and figure out what this puzzle is.”
“The sad part is that people are saying that we [the contestants] were not intelligent and were trying to belittle our college degrees,” he continued.
Coleman then had a few words for the “trolls” that came for him on social media. “What I would say to the trolls is that, ‘You go up there. Half of you don’t even have public speaking skills. You go on “Wheel of Fortune” and go into the shoes of where we were standing.’ And then it will be a whole another conversation when they are trending and making donkeys of themselves,” he stated.
He explained that the moment was “an isolated incident” and wanted people to “have more empathy and a little more grace and understanding.”
“Just go easy on me and the other contestants because we are very educated people, and we don’t want to be put in a situation where we are being cackled and publicly humiliated on a show that was a lifelong dream,” Coleman said.
He concluded by saying that while he doesn’t have “many regrets” in life, if he “knew then what I know now,” he would have solved the puzzle correctly instead of spinning the wheel on his second try.
“That is where I went wrong, and I take full accountability,” he said.
Host Pat Sajak leaped to the defense of his show’s contestants yesterday and posted a lengthy thread on Twitter, telling viewers to “have a little heart.”
“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,” Sajak, 75, wrote.
The game show host added in part, “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. Good-natured laughter is one thing. Heck, they laughed at themselves. But, hey, cut them some slack. Unless you’re there, you have no idea how different it is in the studio.”