Newly named “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards is under fire for resurfaced comments he made that some critics are calling sexist and racist.
Pop culture outlet The Ringer first reported Thursday that between 2013 and 2014, as the host of the podcast “Randumb,” Richards referred to his female cohost as a “booth ho,” “boothstitute” and “booth slut” and said women in one-piece bathing suits look “really frumpy and overweight.”
In other episodes, Richards made disparaging racial remarks.
Referring to Jewish people, he said of a woman’s facial features, “Ixnay on the ose-nay. She’s not an ew-Jay.” In a separate incident, when his co-host described issues she was having with her apartment, he asked if she lived in Haiti, adding, “Doesn’t it sound like that? Like, the urine smell, the woman in the muumuu, the stray cats.”
Hours after Ringer reporters asked Richards’ representatives about his podcast comments, all 41 episodes disappeared from hosting site mrichtv.podbean.com.
Richards then issued this statement to the outlets:
It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. 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.”
Sony, the company that produces “Jeopardy!,” told The Hollywood Reporter they were “unaware of the podcast until yesterday and [have] no further comment at this time.”
Richards has quickly become a controversial figure since he was named last week as Alex Trebek’s permanent replacement. Along with his employer CBS, he was named in a 2010 lawsuit from a model who claimed that during his time as executive producer on “The Price is Right” he discriminated against her over her pregnancy.
As reported by THR, Richards’ denied the accusation in a memo to “Jeopardy’s” staff, saying “These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that 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.” He added, “I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.”
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