'Jeopardy!' host apologizes for disparaging remarks aimed at women and disabled
In response to newly unearthed podcast audio of him making vulgar remarks and using slur terms for women, the developmentally challenged and others, "Jeopardy!" executive producer and newly named host Mike Richards has issued an apology.
"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," Richards, 46, said in a statement to Newsday after the online magazine The Ringer on Wednesday published an article documenting his comments on his 2013-14 podcast "The Randumb Show."
"Looking back now," he continued, "there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry."
Richards added, "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," which remain available at the Internet Archive. "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."
His apology follows earlier revelations of past lawsuits accusing him of workplace discrimination and harassment during his time as executive producer of "The Price Is Right." In an Aug. 9 memo to "Jeopardy!" staff, obtained by numerous outlets, he dismissed those allegations. "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," he said in part, denying that he had discriminated against two "Price Is Right" models.
Brandi Cochran had sued Richards and others associated with the show in 2010, saying that after telling producers she was expecting, they made disparaging remarks, dropped her from the show's website and did not allow her to return after maternity leave. In 2012 she won a jury award of nearly $7.8 million. It was overturned the following year due to a jury-instruction issue, and in 2016, her attorneys announced a settlement.
Fellow "Price Is Right" model Lanisha Cole filed a workplace harassment, discrimination and wrongful-termination suit in 2011, naming producers Richards and Adam Sandler, who is not the actor by that name. In April 2013, the court dismissed Richards as a defendant, and the case was settled shortly thereafter.