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Controversy is circling the Wheel of Fortune game show after a contestant was prevented from taking home a brand-new car over a puzzling technicality even though she appeared to literally choose the right word.
The contestant, Charlene Rubush, entered the bonus round with winnings of $16,500 on Tuesday evening. With a 10-second time limit to solve the puzzle, Rubush’s original guess for the “what are you doing?” category was “choosing the right card.”
As time expired, she came out with the correct answer, which was “choosing the right word.”
Immediately after the buzzer sounded, host Pat Sajak unfortunately provided some bad news.
“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. 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.”
It was an Audi Q3 to be exact, which has an MSRP of approximately $35,000. She gets to keep the cash prize, however.
Rubush appeared to be taking the turn of events all in stride.
Watch the clip embedded below and form your own conclusions:
Come on @WheelofFortune, the woman literally chose the right word. Give her the car. pic.twitter.com/aAaMyFeEZl
— Alex Jacob (@whoisalexjacob) December 22, 2021
“Fans have been clamoring for a while for ‘Wheel of Fortune’ to address some seemingly hidden rules that have cost contestants prizes on technicalities,” Fox News reported.
In this instance, although some fans of the show are taking the rules-are-rules position, other viewers conveyed some strong words to America’s longest-running syndicated game show.
“Give her the car @WheelofFortune!! This is ridiculous,” one social media user demanded. Others registered similar sentiments; a small sampling of the outpouring follows.
#WheelofFortune You know what?! I’m gonna take a long pause from wheel of fortune…
— K1P2 🏥🩺🚑 (@willcharmom) December 22, 2021
I watched this episode tonight and couldn’t believe it. What a ridiculous “rule”???? I knew Twitter would be as ticked off as I was seeing her lose for absolutely, seriously no reason. #WheelofFortune @MaggieSajak @patsajak @TheVannaWhite
— me (@apricotpeach11) December 22, 2021
AUDI? be the bigger person and give that lady her car. Thank you.
— Monique Caron-Krug (@MoniqueGCaron) December 22, 2021
Wheel of Fortune, you just lost a viewer. “I am choosing the right word” to never watch this show again. #WheelofFortune #choosingtherightword
I’m done! I’m with that lady. She deserves that Audi! That rule is the most dumbest thing ever! She had it right before the time was up! pic.twitter.com/cwJGhXBaYq
— TalinOrfaliGhazarian (@TalinOrfaliGhaz) December 22, 2021
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
— Patrick Bird (@PatrickDBird) December 22, 2021
#WheelofFortune robbed that girl of an Audi. Shame.
— Kali 🥥 (@kalicoconuts) December 22, 2021
Wow… that is pathetic! Very unfair for wheel to use this rule. She got the correct words to the puzzle. Not letting her win because of a pause, that is so petty, almost enough to not want to watch the show
— Rob Lauvray (@RLauvray) December 22, 2021
I’m pretty chill about Wheel of Fortune technicalities (if you say “and” in a crossword puzzle without correcting yourself, sorry but that’s how it is), but this one feels ridiculous. How long of a pause is too long? If she’d inserted another word, I could see it, but she didn’t!
— Molly Rastin, MT-BC (@mollyrastin) December 22, 2021
I don’t normally watch this show, but I watched the end of this episode with my mom who is a loyal viewer-and coincidentally my daughter and son-in-law were watching- we were all waiting for Jeopardy-it was unanimous – it was a sham! Give her the car!!!
— Dale Engelbert (@EngelbertDale) December 22, 2021
Seems pretty wrong. It is not like she said choosing the right “um” word. She did pronounce everything correctly which not everyone can do. I hope Audi will hear about this, give her a car and put her in a commercial. It becomes a win-win. #freemarketing #wheeloffortune
— steve uman (@steve_uman) December 22, 2021
Wow!!! Are you kidding me?!!? She literally got the right answer before the buzzer went off!!! Give me a break…or better yet, give her one!!! Do the right thing and reward that lady!!! 👎👎👎👎👎
— Theresa Carmoney (@TheresaCarmoney) December 22, 2021
It remains to be seen if the show will reverse its decision given the response or perhaps, in the alternative, if Audi may intervene, as many fans suggested, in the name of good public relations.
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