The iconic American TV show “Wheel of Fortune” held a special “Southern Charm” week, complete with a backdrop photo taken at a plantation with two African-Americans in slave-era clothing.
“Someone please tell me why @WheelofFortune has slaves in their ‘Southern Charm Week’ images?” Twitter user Joshua Itiola wrote.
— Joshua Itiola (@joshitiola) June 16, 2017
“This is also absolutely ridiculous. Wtf is happening to our country???? @WheelofFortune,” Ahab_and_Erol tweeted in reply.
Harry Friedman, the show’s executive producer, said the image won’t be used in any reruns.
“We regret the use of this background image, and we will be replacing it moving forward on any rebroadcast,” Friedman said, the New York Daily News reported.
“Wheel of Fortune” filmed at the plantation about 10 years ago and the image ran during “Southern Charm” week in March of this year.
An executive for Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, where the photo was taken, told the Daily News that the plantation does not have any actors portraying slaves. Loeber also said that it is unclear if the photo was taken then by the game’s producers or if the show purchased a stock image.
Plantation spokeswoman Hillary Loeber told the Daily News that tour guides wear period clothing and the plantation hires people of all skin colors for the position.
None of the plantation’s photos on Google Images feature people of color in the period garb and the venue’s walkway and trees were also altered in the image, the Daily News reported.
“Wheel of Fortune” is a television game show in which contestants solve word puzzles to win cash and prizes. “Wheel of Fortune” debuted on NBC in 1975 hosted by Chuck Woolery and aired until 1989, until it moved to CBS. In 1991, the show returned to NBC for about nine months when it was cancelled.
The popularity of the daytime show led to a nightly syndicated edition which premiered in September 1983 with hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White and continues to run.
“Wheel of Fortune” is the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States with more than 6,000 episodes.