A Wheel of Fortune contestant who missed out on winning an Audi during an episode of the show this week looks set to get brand new wheels after all.
Charlene Rubush received an outpouring of support from outraged fans after she was seen being denied the prize in the Bonus Round—despite correctly solving the puzzle—during Tuesday night’s episode.
With the category being titled « What are you doing?, » Rubush added her own choice of letters to the customary R, S, T, L, N, and E that came with the puzzle, before incorrectly guessing that the answer was: « Choosing the right card. »
As the end of the 10-second countdown loomed, Rubush made another attempt as she correctly answered: « Choosing the right word. »
However, what should have been a celebratory moment was met with a subdued response, as host Pat Sajak explained that she couldn’t be awarded the prize.
« You know, this one’s tough because you said all the right words, including the word ‘word,’ but as you know it’s got to be more or less continuous, » he said. »
« We’ll allow for a little pause, but not four or five seconds, » the TV personality added. « I’m sorry, you did a good job in getting it, but we can’t give you the prize and it was an Audi. »
Viewers soon took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the decision, with former Jeopardy! champ Alex Jacob tweeting: « Come on @WheelofFortune, the woman literally chose the right word. Give her the car. »
« Now I’m wondering if she had just stretched out the word « riiiiiiiiiight, » would that have counted as a continuous answer? » Jacob went on. « I understand rules are rules but this seems like a particularly dumb rule. C’mon Wheel, it’s Christmas. »
Jacob also shared screenshots of direct messages he had sent to the official Twitter accounts of Wheel of Fortune and Audi USA about the situation.
After acknowledging Jacob’s message in the screenshot and explaining that the matter was under « internal » review, Audi USA posted a tweet on Wednesday that read: « You’re a winner in our eyes, Charlene. Now, let’s get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3. »
When a Twitter user commended Audi for « doing the right thing » and cutting « through all the red tape and rules, » the luxury car manufacturer responded: « Time to make our own rules. »
A few hours later, Rubush appeared to be a major step closer to getting a car, as a tweet from Audi read: « There’s no community like the Audi community. With your help, we tracked down Charlene! More to come as we help #GiveHerTheQ3. »
Jacob reacted to the tweet by sharing a gif of Rainn Wilson in character as Dwight Schrute from The Office triumphantly punching the air.
The protests led to the hashtag « #GiveHerTheQ3 » trending on the micro-blogging platform, as fans sought a response from Wheel of Fortune.
Newsweek has contacted representatives of Wheel of Fortune and Audi for comment.
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