Mike Richards, executive producer and the newly named host of ”Jeopardy!,” has spoken out for a second time after more of his past offensive comments were resurfaced.
A report from The Ringer published Wednesday included several quotes from a since-deleted episode of Richards’ podcast, “The Randumb Show,” which he hosted in 2013 and 2014 as a way to promote a behind-the-scenes look at CBS game show “The Price is Right,” for which he was a co-executive producer.
Richards, 46, repeatedly used offensive language to describe and denigrate women’s bodies, according to The Ringer’s review of the 41 episodes available online until Tuesday. Richards confirmed in a statement that he has since taken the episodes down.
In his apology, Richards said that it was “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.”
He continued: “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.”
Representatives for Sony Pictures Television, which produces “Jeopardy!”, declined to comment.
Richards also twice praised “average” white male TV hosts, who he said made it seem like he, too, had the potential to host a show one day, according to The Ringer. (In addition to producing, Richards earlier hosted several shows, including “Beauty and the Geek” in 2008 and “Pyramid.”)
“Jeff Probst had a daytime talk show, which I was cheering for because I like, you know, the average white-guy host,” Richards said, according to The Ringer. “I cheer for him to succeed because I feel like through his success I could have some success hosting.”
He later said former “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest ”actually made the world a safer place for what I like to call the skinny white host, like (‘The Price is Right’ announcer) George (Gray) and I.”
After the long-running syndicated quiz show spent the past seven months rotating 16 guest hosts at the podium once manned by late host Alex Trebek, Richards got the permanent nod earlier this month to host the nightly show. ”The Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik will host primetime specials and tournaments on ABC, starting with a college championship next year.
Richards’ apology this week follows a statement he issued August 9 to “Jeopardy!” employees regarding resurfaced discrimination lawsuits against him by “The Price is Right” models during his work on the show.
One 2010 complaint came from a model who claimed Richards fired her because she had become pregnant, according to reports from Variety and Deadline. She was awarded more than $8 million in damages and the case was later settled after an appeal. Richards was named in the lawsuit but not listed as a defendant.
Another lawsuit alleged a model was harassed on the set and wrongfully terminated, but the case was also settled out of court after Richards was removed as a defendant.
“I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at ‘The Price is Right’ ten years ago,” Richards wrote in a statement obtained by The Ringer and Deadline.
“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 who we worked together on ‘The Price is Right.’ 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 in their parenting journeys.”
Contributing: Elise Brisco
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