LOS ANGELES (KFOR)– Mike Richards, the new host of “Jeopardy!,” has stepped down after sexist comments he made on his podcast surfaced.
Richards, an executive producer for “Jeopardy!” “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” was accused of pregnancy discrimination in a 2010 lawsuit.
Over the course of the 41 episodes of “The Randum Show,” Richards frequently commented on women’s wardrobes and even one female employee’s weight. On the podcasts, he also asked a female assistant and a female cohost if they ever took nude photos, the Ringer reported. He referred to his cohost as a “booth ho.”
“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,” Richards said in a statement earlier this week. “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 Friday, Richards announced that he was stepping down from the host position.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter. As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.
SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.
I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”Mike Richards
Richards was one of many guests hosts, which included “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton, legendary “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as the show searched for a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek.
Jeopardy! airs weekdays beginning at 3 p.m. on KFOR.