A day after new daily Jeopardy! host Mike Richards was the subject of a report on the news website The Ringer over his repeated use of offensive language, disparaging comments about women's bodies, and more, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is calling for an investigation into what they say is a "pattern" of offensive comments. The comments were made while Richards was a host of The Randumb Show podcast from 2013 to 2014 (for 41 episodes).
In a statement issued via Twitter by the ADL earlier today: "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." Along with the examples noted yesterday, writer/author Claire McNear also cited examples of offensive & sexist comments to his female co-hosts (calling one of his co-hosts a "booth slut" for her CES promotional work) as well as other offensive comments about Haitians and Jewish people (comments that played up physical stereotypes about Jewish people) in their report.
Here's a look at two more examples cited by McNear in their report:
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."
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.
Not long after Sony and Richards' agents were asked to comment on their reporting, The Ringer noted that the audio of every episode was taken down and the podcast's hosting site was deleted. While Sony has not officially commented on the reporting, The Ringer also alleges that a Sony source revealed to them that the studio was unaware of the podcast recordings until Sony was contacted to comment on them. For his part, Richards emailed The Ringer a statement regarding his comments and actions while hosting the 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. The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around," the Jeopardy! host wrote. "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."
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Richards was "in advanced negotiations" with Sony Pictures TV to be the long-running game show's permanent host (though a final deal was not officially in place at the time). Shortly after, Richards' involvement in past lawsuits involving The Price is Right models Brandi Cochran, Lanisha Cole, and others during his time producing the Bob Barker and Drew Carrey-hosted game show came to light on social media before news sites then began to cover the matter (you can look back on our coverage here). Richards addressed both the hosting rumors and the allegations leveled against him in those past lawsuits via a memo sent to Jeopardy! employees (which Variety obtained). Regarding the allegations, Richards claimed his "comments and actions have been characterized" and that the allegations in the complaints don't "reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on 'The Price is Right.'"
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