Mike Richards, whose recent promotion to host of Jeopardy! following Alex Trebek's death continues to stir controversy, is apologizing for past sexist remarks made several years ago on a podcast.
Between 2013 and 2014, the 46-year-old, who served as executive producer of the game show for the past two years, hosted The Randumb Show, which promised "inside knowledge on TV, pop culture and game shows." The Ringer reviewed all 41 episodes of the podcast and reported that Richards repeatedly used offensive language and made sexist comments about women's bodies and clothing. The original recordings, which E! News has not listened to, were deleted on Tuesday, Aug. 17, the outlet said. On Thursday, Aug. 19, Richards issued a statement to E! News about the unearthed podcast.
"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," he said. "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."
On one 2014 episode, released after the infamous leak of naked celebrity pics by a hacker, Richards reportedly asked his assistant and co-host if they'd ever taken nude photos. On another podcast recording that year, Richards said one-piece swimsuits made women look "really frumpy and overweight," The Ringer reported.
This is not the first time Richards, who was recently announced as the new host Jeopardy!'s daily syndicated program months following Trebek's death from pancreatic cancer in November 2020, has been criticized for alleged negative behavior against women.
In 2012, while Richards served as executive producer on The Price Is Right, a former model on the game show was tentatively awarded more than $7.7 million in punitive damages after a jury determined that the show had discriminated against her because of her pregnancy, according to the Associated Press. Richards denied allegations of mistreatment. Co-production company FremantleMedia appealed the verdict and after an appeals court ruled there was sufficient evidence for a second trial, the case resulted in a settlement, The Hollywood Reporter said.
"These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show," Richards wrote in a letter to staff at the time. "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. 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."