Mike Richards, announced as a new co-host of “Jeopardy!” last week, has stepped down from his hosting duties,
CNN Business reported.
His announcement came two days after
the Ringer reported a variety of offending comments Richards reportedly made several years ago.
Richards, the show's executive producer, was named “Jeopardy!” daily co-host on Aug. 11.
What are the details?
According to CNN, author Claire McNear, reporting for the Ringer, said Richards was guilty of making “derogatory remarks about little people, Jews, people receiving unemployment benefits, and sexist comments about women” in a 2013 and 2014 podcast.
McNear added that Richards “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women's bodies.”
The Wrap reported that Richards also “repeatedly made sexist and objectifying comments toward [his former assistant, Beth Triffon],” including one incident of mocking her for collecting unemployment benefits, asking her, “Do you feel dirty?”
In another remark, he reportedly mocked her friends' weights, saying they looked “really frumpy and overweight.”
The Ringer also reported that Richards often made inappropriate remarks about women's chests and appeared to have crush on Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
“She's, like, kind of my type,” the outlet reported Richards saying. “You know — blonde, good-looking.”
During another incident, Richards also asked Triffon and a friend if they'd ever taken nude photos of themselves.
“Like booby pictures?” he asked, and requested to go through her phone to look at such images.
Later, when she declined to share an image with him, he reportedly asked if the photo was “of … boobies.”
TVLine reports that Richards also once suggested Triffon to try out for Asian roles due to her short stature, and during a conversation about big noses, he reportedly said, “Ixnay on the ose-nay. … She's not an ew-Jay.”
In an apology accompanying his resignation from host duties, Richards said, “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.”
Elsewhere in his announcement, Richards also said that the show would be reverting to guest hosts for the time being.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” Richards said in a Friday morning memo. “[Sony] 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.”
Richards will remain at the show's helm as executive producer.
“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,” he added. “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
Mike Richards sent the following statement to the Jeopardy! staff today: https://t.co/hDTmXCFThP
— Claire McNear (@Claire McNear)1628525489.0
The Anti-Defamation League in a statement said that Richards' remarks “are no laughing matter.”
“Stereotyping is an entry point to hate and his apology lacks acknowledgement of its harm,” the organization's statement added. “This reported pattern warrants an investigation.”
People reports that Sony is set to air five “Jeopardy!” episodes that Richards taped before his abrupt Friday departure.
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