Jeopardy host Mike Richards issues another apology for past behavior involving women
Newly announced Jeopardy host Mike Richards issued another statement addressing his past behavior Wednesday after it was revealed that he made inappropriate comments referring to women, Jewish people, people with mental disabilities, and others on a podcast he hosted from 2013 to 2014 called The Randumb Show.
"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," Richards, 46, said in a statement provided to EW. "Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry. The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around. Even with the passage of time, it's more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them."
In an explosive article published by The Ringer on Wednesday, it was revealed that Richards — an executive producer on Jeopardy who was just named the full-time replacement for the late Alex Trebek — made crude comments about women while hosting a podcast that was meant to take a behind-the-scenes look at The Price Is Right. Richards reportedly taped 41 episodes while he was serving as a co-executive producer of Price, a job he held before moving to Jeopardy. (The episodes were available on the podcast's original hosting site, mrichtv.podbean.com, until Tuesday; archived episodes can still be accessed via the Internet Archive). The episodes were mostly taped in Richards' Price office, and featured appearances by cast and crew members like announcer George Gray and some of the show's models.
In one episode, The Ringer reports, Richards commented that one-piece bathing suits made women look "really frumpy and overweight." He also asked his female cohost whether she had ever "taken a nude photo" of herself. When she remarked that she had taken "cute pictures of herself," Richards replied, "What does that mean? Like booby pictures?"
In fact, Richards made multiple comments about women's appearances. He once said women "dress like a hooker" on Halloween and later told a story about a former Price Is Right employee who liked to bake. "We said that we were going to have to saw her out of her room because she was going to be so giant that she wouldn't be able to fit out the door," he said, according to The Ringer.
In another episode, Richards responded to a comment from Gray about big noses by saying, "Ixnay on the ose-nay. She's not an ew-Jay." He also referred to his female assistant as a "booth ho" in reference to her past work as a model at CES, and used derogatory terms for little people and people with mental disabilities.
Jeopardy and Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produces the show, declined to comment on Richards' remarks on the podcast.
Before it was officially announced that he would take over as Jeopardy host for the 38th season, Richards issued his first apology for past behavior after details of his alleged treatment of a Price Is Right model resurfaced from a discrimination lawsuit. In 2012, model Brandi Cochran sued the producers at FremantleMedia North America and The Price Is Right Productions alleging that they discriminated against her for being pregnant, to which Richards reportedly said, "Go figure, I fire five models. What are the odds one of the ones that I keep gets pregnant?" Cochran won the suit in 2012 and was awarded more than $7 million in damages, but the decision was overturned the next year and the case was eventually settled.
Another Price Is Right model, Lanisha Cole, sued Fremantle and Richards in 2011 for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. She alleged that Richards "began to treat [Cole] differently" than the show's other models while he "had entered into a close, personal and intimate relationship" with another model and "engaged in improper favoritism as a result." Richards was later dismissed as a defendant, and the suit was settled in 2013.
"The way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price Is Right," Richards said in a memo to Jeopardy staff that was obtained by EW. "I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode. Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show. I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity, and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love."
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