“Jeopardy!” Host Mike Richards Is Apologizing For Stuff He Said On His Old Podcast
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards was crowned one of two new hosts of Jeopardy! only a week ago, and it’s starting to look like the rest of Mike’s co-workers at Jeopardy! probably should have called at least one of his references before they decided to promote Mike to a higher pay grade. Because it didn’t take long for people to unearth stuff from his past that Mike and the rest of Sony Pictures Television probably would have rather kept buried. Several discrimination lawsuits were found from Mike’s time as a producer on The Price is Right that painted him as a rude sexist asshole. He was able to sweep those under the rug with a statement and a strong denial that those lawsuits accurately reflect who he is as a person. Well, Mike used to host a podcast back in the day, and the internet just discovered that too. And look who is being forced to apologize once again for sounding like a rude sexist asshole. But this time, there’s also a little splash of racism in there as well.
In 2013 and 2014, Mike hosted his own podcast called The Randumb Show. Mike might have been able to skate away from the bad publicity of those lawsuits with a boilerplate he said/she said argument, but he didn’t get so lucky this time. The Ringer did some investigating into Mike’s past and combed through his podcast episode library. In Mike’s statement about The Price is Right lawsuits, he said that disrespecting women, in general, isn’t something he’d ever do. Uh oh, it’s something he did. via The Ringer:
A review of all 41 episodes of the podcast that were available online until Tuesday reveals that Richards repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies. In an episode published on September 4, 2014, after the iCloud photo hack, which exposed intimate images of numerous female celebrities, Richards asked his assistant and his cohost – both much younger women – whether they had ever taken nude photos. When his cohost said that she had sometimes taken photos of herself when she thought she looked cute, Richards responded, “Like booby pictures? What are we looking at?” Later, he asked to go through her phone; when she declined to share an image with him, he asked whether it was “of [her] boobies.”
Many [episodes] have a gossipy edge, with Richards displaying a tendency to turn bawdy and sometimes vulgar. In one 2014 episode, [Mike’s assistant and co-host] Beth Triffon discusses once working as a model at the Consumer Electronics Show; Richards subsequently calls her a “booth ho” and “booth slut.” 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.”
On another 2014 episode, Richards said that one-piece swimsuits made women look “really frumpy and overweight,” echoing the portion of Cochran’s lawsuit that mentions Richards’s preferences about swimwear.
Mike didn’t only talk about sluts and dumpy-ass bitches in one-piece swimsuits.
In the podcast’s third episode, Triffon discusses some acting roles she has auditioned for; Richards says she should try out for Taiwanese roles because of her height. In another episode, after [Price announcer] 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.”
There are also examples of Mike saying rude shit about homeless people, poor people, using slurs against little people and those with cognitive disabilities, and one instance where he gets really fired up about people collecting unemployment benefits and social assistance (and not in a way that has Mike arguing for more benefits for those who need them). Those podcast episodes were pulled from podcast services, but they’re still alive over at the Internet Archive. Mike has since apologized while acknowledging how bad it all sounds. via Entertainment Weekly:
“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. 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.”
Lots of people will argue that 2013 and 2014 was a different time, and it truly was. I mean, we were still wearing Litas, and those were deeply offensive from the get-go. So, surely Husband and Father Mike Richards has become a better person since that passage of time. But according to sources who spoke with The Ringer, Mike maybe wasn’t that great of a boss at Jeopardy!. Several sources claim that staff morale “deteriorated” under Mike’s watch as Executive Producer. Other staff sources claim they were blindsided when they found out he was being promoted to host. Also, those same sources make it sound like his nickname could have been Michael Berry because he was driven with ambition to one day get in front of the camera and be a star.
Everyone has stuff in their past that doesn’t look so great under the exposure of present-day’s overhead lighting, but Mike seems to have a lot. I’m sure if Mike had access to a time machine, he’d go back to when the most embarrassingly sexist thing in his past was hosting Beauty and The Geek.