Mike Richards, the Jeopardy Host No One Wanted, Apologizes for History of Gross, Sexist Comments
The new season of Jeopardy! is set to start taping today, which meant that yesterday, Mike Richards, the new host no one wanted, had to go and apologize for some really gross, sexist comments that have resurfaced.
Back in 2013 and 2014, Richards co-hosted a podcast called The Randumb Show, which was at least initially billed as a behind-the-scenes tour of “inside knowledge” of game shows during the time when Richards was working as an executive producer on The Price Is Right.
In numerous episodes unearthed by The Ringer, Richards can be heard making sexist and otherwise offensive comments. He reportedly used multiple slurs, including the “R-word” and repeated use of a derogatory word for little people.
In one episode from 2014, the hosts are discussing the then-recent iPhone hack that saw nude photos of multiple celebrities leaked. Richards asks his female cohost if she’d ever taken nude photos, and when she said she’d taken “cute” photos, he demanded more information: “Like booby pictures? What are we looking at?” he asked. Later in the episode, he asked to look through her phone. When she refused, he asked if it was because there were pictures “of [her] boobies” on it.
In another 2014 episode, Richards’ cohost Beth Tiffon discussed once working as a model at a tech convention. “Richards subsequently calls her a ‘booth ho’ and ‘booth slut,'” writes The Ringer. “When the subject comes up again in a later conversation with Let’s Make a Deal announcer Jonathan Mangum, both Mangum and Richards repeatedly call her a ‘boothstitute.'”
In another episode, Richards gave Tiffon his in-depth thoughts on her body and the bodies of her friends. Looking at a picture of the women in swimsuits by a lake, Richards says one-piece swimsuits are “genuinely unattractive” and “not becoming, not flattering.” A harassment lawsuit filed by a former model on The Price Is Right noted that Richards preferred the show’s models to wear bikinis.
Richards told Triffon that her friends wearing one-piece swimsuits “look really frumpy and overweight” in the photo. The Ringer provides this exchange, where Richards seems to (jokingly but still disgustingly) suggest that their appearance warrants physical assault:
Triffon: It’s so funny because no one’s overweight.
Richards: But they all look terrible in the picture. They look fat and not good in the picture. It’s bad. You look great. You look like a Sports Illustrated model, and then you’ve got one-piece malones on either side of you, which are just horrible.
Triffon: I can’t wait till you meet my roommate, because she’s literally gonna be like, walk up to you in a bag and be like, “Hey.”
Richards: “Hey, what’s up? I’m wearing a smock.” And then I’m gonna give her a smack.
In an episode, Richards makes fun of Triffon’s economic status and issues with her apartment, asking “Does Beth live, like, in Haiti? Doesn’t it sound like that? Like, the urine smell, the woman in the muumuu, the stray cats.”
In other instances, Richards says Triffon–who is an actress–should audition for Taiwanese roles because of her height. He says that by giving a dollar to an unhoused woman, she is “perpetuating the cycle” and says the woman will just use the money on “some crack! Or some meth!”
“In another episode,” writes The Ringer, “after [guest George] Gray makes a nonspecific comment about big noses, Richards jumps in. ‘Ixnay on the ose-nay,’ he says. ‘She’s not an ew-Jay.'”
You get the picture. There’s a lot of gross stuff here.
In a statement emailed to The Ringer and posted to Twitter, Richards wrote, “It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago.”
That language is clearly meant to put some distance between Richards and comments he made all of seven years ago at the grown-ass age of 38 or 39. And while he writes that “The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around,” it was also (in addition to being a conversation meant for public consumption) sold and promoted as being directly tied to his work on The Price Is Right–the same work that saw him involved with multiple lawsuits for what some of his female employees saw as being sexist harassment.
After those lawsuits gained new attention earlier this month, Richards said that they do “not reflect the reality of who I am.” But that’s hard to believe when we can hear the reality of who he is in his own words, and those words are full of cheap shock-jock sexism and disparaging slurs.
In his apology statement, Richards wrote that “it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes.”
Sony declined to comment to The Ringer but a source did tell the outlet that the studio “was unaware of the podcast’s existence or the episodes’ removal until being notified by The Ringer.” So I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see if Richards, who no one wanted for this job in the first place, will see any consequences for his history of gross comments.
(via The Ringer, image: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
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