The producers of Wheel of Fortune have expressed “regret” for featuring a background image that many viewers interpreted as depicting enslaved black women during a recently aired episode. 

“We regret the use of this background image, and we will be replacing it moving forward on any rebroadcast,” executive producer Harry Friedman said in a statement to EW.

During the June 15 episode of Wheel, which was filmed as part of the game show’s “Southern Charm” week, a background image depicted two black women on a plantation wearing clothing reminiscent of the antebellum South. The image ignited criticism on social media, where photographer Joshua Itiola posted a clip of the episode and wrote, “Someone please tell me why @WheelofFortune has slaves in their ‘Southern Charm Week’ images.

A person with knowledge of the situation told EW the image was taken from footage shot on location in 2005 for a New Orleans episode of Wheel. It was filmed at the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, and the women in the image were working as tour guides.

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Source: Entertainment Weekly / Oliver Gettell

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