Viewers in the U.K. and beyond expressed disgust Monday after a daily morning show in the country aired a game show-like segment in which participants could have their energy bills paid—a scene that critics described as “dystopian” and “beyond bleak” given the nation’s current energy crisis and a working class struck by soaring prices.
Aired on the same day that the ruling Tory government chose a new leader in Liz Truss to become the nation’s next Prime Minister, the segment on This Morning! featured a rotating wheel where the prize was either a £1,000 or four-months payment of “Energy Bills.”
While pitched by the hosts as a good-natured chance to get some financial relief from soaring home-heating prices in the country—the hardest hit in Europe due to higher oil and gas costs triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other factors—critics denounced making a spectacle of the financial hardship faced by millions by blending aspects of the fictional Netflix show “The Squid Game” with “Wheel of Fortune.”
“People are going to freeze to death this year because of energy crisis,” said journalist Ben Smoke of Huck Magazine in a tweet, “turning it into light entertainment is beyond bleak.”
Spin the wheel and find out whether I’ll survive the winter!— Elliot Hackney (@ElliotHackney) September 5, 2022
Fuck me. pic.twitter.com/h81rFwbShf
Social justice campaigner and author Ben Phillips also chimed in. “Some say that the role of government is to intervene when markets fail in providing essential services,” Phillips said, “and others say we should make people beg to have a chance of having their misery relieved by a getting through on a premium phone line to a televised spinning wheel of fortune.”
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