‘Jeopardy!’: Anti-Defamation League Calls for Investigation of New Host Mike Richards After Comments Resurface

by Jennifer Shea

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is calling for an investigation into recently-announced “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards. And they’re pointing to an emerging “pattern” of offensive remarks.

The ADL is a century-plus-old organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism. It released a statement today saying Richards’ pattern of comments – some of which were already the subject of lawsuits – “warrants an investigation.”

“Mike Richards’ disparaging remarks about Jews, women & Asians are no laughing matter,” the organization tweeted Thursday. “Stereotyping is an entry point to hate and his apology lacks acknowledgment of its harm.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Made Derogatory Remarks About Jews, Women and More

Richards had a podcast titled “The Randumb Show” from 2013 to 2014. Over the course of its 41 episodes, he made multiple potentially offensive remarks about a range of groups, The Ringer reports.

Richards repeatedly made objectifying and derogatory remarks about women. He called his much younger assistant a “booth slut” and a “boothstitute.” And he railed against one-piece bathing suits on women, even saying, “And then I’m gonna give her a smack” of a woman wearing a one-piece.

In another episode, Richards went after Jews. He responded to a comment about big noses by saying, “Ixnay on the ose-nay. She’s not an ew-Jay.”

Richards also repeatedly called his assistant a “midget,” a slur for little people. He told her she should audition for Taiwanese roles because she’s short. And he berated her for giving a dollar to a homeless person. The latter stands in sharp contrast to late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, whose parting donation was $500,000 to the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, a group that tries to shelter homeless people.

Moreover, according to the Ringer, Richards ripped his assistant for taking $398 in government benefits. But Richards’ consultancy, incorporated in 2018, took six-figure sums in government aid. Richards, the CEO and sole shareholder, got $127,906 in Paycheck Protection Program funds. He also got $150,000 in COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster loans last year.

Richards Apologizes, But Lawsuits Suggest Podcast Was Not Isolated Problem

Richards has apologized for the podcast episodes. He has taken them down since The Ringer’s story appeared.

“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago,” Richards said in a statement. “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.”

He added that he intends to live up to his “obligations as a role model.”

But Richards also stands accused in multiple lawsuits of discriminating against game show models. He allegedly began treating one woman differently and expressed regret for not firing her after learning she was pregnant. In another case, he allegedly engaged in abusive behavior toward a model, including giving her the silent treatment, around the time he started a relationship with her colleague.  

At the time those lawsuits reference, Richards was executive producer of “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal.” But former employees who spoke to The Ringer suggested Richards had long had his eye on a job in front of the camera. And they said he had shown interest in hosting “Jeopardy!” before the search for Trebek’s replacement began.