The controversy surrounding Mike Richards’ newly-minted “Jeopardy!” hosting gig continues. The Anti-Defamation League is calling for an investigation into the television personality’s “pattern” of offensive comments.
Tweeting a link to the Washington Post’s coverage of Richards’ resurfaced remarks, the ADL published the following statement Thursday:
“New Jeopardy! host Mike Richards’ disparaging remarks about Jews, women & Asians are no laughing matter. Stereotyping is an entry point to hate and his apology lacks acknowledgment of its harm. This reported pattern warrants an investigation.”
On Wednesday, The Ringer reported on “The Randumb Show,” Richards’ 2013 podcast in which he “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies.” The podcast, recorded during his time as executive producer on “The Price Is Right,” was co-hosted by Richards and his former assistant Beth Triffon and ran for 41 episodes.
According to the outlet, Richards’ comments included calling his female co-host a “booth slut” for modeling at CES and seeming to make a Jewish stereotype joke (after somebody else made a comment about big noses, Richards reportedly said, “Ixnay on the ose-nay. She’s not an ew-Jay”).
He also reportedly made sexist and objectifying comments toward Triffon and other women. In one instance cited, Richards mocked Triffon for collecting unemployment benefits, asking her “Do you feel dirty?” In another, he mocked a photo of her and her friends in swimsuits, saying they “look really frumpy and overweight.”
Richards, who ironically began filming “Jeopardy!” the same day that the ADL’s statement was released, has since apologized for the comments he made on the now-deleted podcast.
“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,” he said. “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 announced Richards as the permanent successor to the late Alex Trebek last week, beating out fan-favorite LeVar Burton. The announcement came just days after he’d been forced to answer for comments cited in a pair of “Price Is Right” lawsuits resurfaced earlier this month.