Did Pat Sajak Insult People Worried About Climate Change on Twitter?

In May 2014, game show host Pat Sajak abandoned his previously apolitical bent to wade into climate science discussions online, purportedly “just to hear the buzzing.”

That month, Sajak (best known for appearing for decades on the daytime television show Wheel of Fortune, in which contestants try to guess phrases from clues and spin a large wheel for prizes) wrote on Twitter, “I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night”:

As Huffington Post noted at the time of the tweet:

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced that April 2014 tied for the warmest April on record. Last month was also the 350th consecutive month with global average temperates at or above the 20th century average.

Recent reports from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. government’s own National Climate Assessment and a recent report from retired U.S. military leadership all echo what has been well-understood for at least 50 years: Human beings have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, trapping more heat, acidifying the oceans and altering normal weather patterns.

Sajak later claimed in a statement that he was joking.

“Just mocking the name-calling that is directed at global warming skeptics within and without the scientific community,” he said.

The tweet has since been deleted. According to CBS News, Sajak had also broached the subject in a 2007 op-ed for the right-wing website Human Events, saying he was “on the skeptical side” of the demonstrated phenomenon.

“The subject of man-made global warming is almost impossible to discuss without a descent into virulent name-calling (especially on the Internet, where anonymity breeds a special kind of vicious reaction to almost any social or political question), but I’ll try anyway,” Sajak wrote.

But by the time he posted his insulting tweets, Sajak had already crossed from “the skeptical side” toward mocking climate change in other deleted tweets, including:

  • Help…climate changing…must send money to lots of places…a lot of money…hurry…time is short…not kidding…

  • Very hot weather: “We’re all going to die!” Very cold weather: “There’s a difference between climate & weather, moron!”

  • Ok, I’ll explain again: cold, snowy winters do not disprove global warming, but warm winters do prove it. Got it?

Sajak also deleted a tweet in which he claimed, “My interest in Al Gore’s pronouncements could fit into a gnat’s navel & still leave room for a Liberal’s sense of humor.” While Sajak had a history of donating to Republican Party political figures, in September 2022 he was spotted taking photographs alongside right-wing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene:

That same month he hinted that the “end was near” for his tenure on the show; Sajak debuted as host in 1981. In June 2023 he formally announced that he would leave the program in 2024.

Shortly afterward, co-host Vanna White reportedly began renegotiating her contract and seeking an annual salary of $7.5 million — half of Sajak’s purported salary. White, who debuted on the show in 1982, reportedly makes $3 million a year under her current contract.

Update 7/12/2023, 12:47 p.m.: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here. – ag