Mike Richards has stepped down as host of Jeopardy! — a week after landing the job and just days after he apologized for offensive and sexist comments he made on a resurfaced podcast.
He made the announcement in a note to staffers on Friday, a show insider confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” his note to staff began.
“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.
Richards, who serves as the show’s executive producer, was behind the search to replace Alex Trebek in the syndicated show. After auditioning a series of guest hosts, he was picked for the job (or picked himself, as some have suggested) while Mayim Bialik was selected to host prime-time specials. His first day as host was Thursday.
As his deal was being hammered out — which fans of the show didn’t seem especially keen on in the first place — workplace discrimination lawsuits were surfaced from when Richards was a co-executive producer on The Price Is Right in the 2010s. He denied the alleged pregnancy discrimination and workplace abuse, which he had been sued over, telling Jeopardy! staff that the allegations do not “reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together.”
And then just days ago, The Ringer reported he “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies” in resurfaced episodes of the podcast The Randumb Show, which he hosted from 2013 to 2014. It was a behind-the-scenes look at The Price Is Right. He repeatedly used offensive language while discussing and criticizing women’s bodies — and he also made an offensive comment about Jewish people and used the R-word. The podcast was deleted and he apologized for his “thoughtlessness” and “insensitivity.”
On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation into his “disparaging remarks about Jews, women & Asians.”
SOURCE: Yahoo Entertainment