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August 19, 2021 12:59 pm
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New ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Apologizes for Offensive Comments About Jews, Women, Disabled People

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The new “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards. Photo: Carol Kaelson/Sony Pictures Entertainment/Handout via REUTERS.

The new host of the television quiz show “Jeopardy!” apologized Wednesday for past controversial comments he made about Jews, women and those with disabilities on a podcast after audio clips of his remarks recently resurfaced.

“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago,” Mike Richards, 46, said in a statement to The Ringer. “Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry.”

On August 11, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that 15 months after becoming the show’s executive producer, Richards would replace longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who died in November 2020. Jewish actress Mayim Bialik will also host prime-time tournaments for the show, which began taping its new season on Thursday.

The Ringer revealed that from 2013 to 2014, Richards hosted a podcast called “The Randumb Show” and in one episode, responding to a reference to big noses, he said in pig latin, “Ixnay on the ose-nay. She’s not an ew-Jay” — which translates to “nix the nose, she’s not a Jew.”

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In an episode in September 2014, after an iCloud photo hack exposed intimate images of some female celebrities, Richards asked his female co-hosts if they ever took nude photos of themselves. One of the co-hosts said she sometimes took photos of herself when she thought she looked cute, and Richards replied, “Like booby pictures? What are we looking at?” He later asked to go through her phone and when she declined to show him a photo, he asked whether it was “of [her] boobies.”

On another episode in 2014, Richards said one-piece swimsuits make women look “really frumpy and overweight.” He also referred to his female cohost and former assistant as a “booth ho,” “boothstitute” and “booth slut.” He additionally used derogatory terms for little people, a word that he also used to describe petite actress Kristin Chenoweth, and people with mental disabilities.

The audio of every podcast episode has since been pulled and the podcast’s hosting site, mrichtv.podbean.com, was deleted, according to The Ringer. However, audio clips are still available via the Internet Archive.

In his apology, Richards explained that the podcast “was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around.” He said, “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.”

Richards, who also worked on “Let’s Make a Deal,” previously faced lawsuits regarding alleged harassment and discrimination while he served as a producer on “The Price is Right” in the late-2000s. He was accused of alleged discrimination against pregnant models and other women on the game show, allegations which he said do “not reflect the reality of who I am.”

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