Newly installed Jeopardy! host Mike Richards issued an apology on Wednesday after several offensive jokes he told on a podcast resurfaced online.
Richards, who is an executive producer of Jeopardy! and was officially named the quiz show’s permanent host last week, was once also an executive producer on The Price Is Right and co-hosted a Price-themed podcast called The Randumb Show from 2013 to 2014. On that podcast, The Ringer reports, Richards made a number of unsavory comments: He said one-piece swimsuits make women “look really frumpy and overweight,” he advised his cohost Beth Triffon to try out for Taiwanese roles because she’s short, and during a conversation about big noses, he warned: “Ixnay on the ose-nay… She’s not an ew-Jay.” (Read The Ringer’s report in full for more details.)
After The Ringer reached out to Richards’ agent for comment on the podcast jokes, the podcast audio was abruptly pulled down, and the hosting site was deleted. Richards also issued a statement: “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. 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.”
He added that “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.”
Richards was named Jeopardy! host after a long search following the death of iconic host Alex Trebek, who passed away from pancreatic cancer last year. The show tried out more than a dozen guest hosts, including Richards, and while Richards’ stint was well-received at the time, some fans bristled at Richards getting the job over favorites like Mayim Bialik and LeVar Burton. (Bialik will, however, return to host Jeopardy!‘s primetime and spinoff specials.) Richards was also dogged by discrimination allegations and lawsuits during his time on The Price Is Right; he issued a statement to Jeopardy! staff last week addressing the allegations.