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Mike Richards out as ‘Jeopardy!’ host amid backlash over remarks on Jews, others

Decision follows report that dug up past comments the producer made on a podcast in which he also mocked women, homeless people, Haitians and those with disabilities

Producer Mike Richards poses in the pressroom at the 43rd annual Daytime Emmy Awards, on May 1, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Producer Mike Richards poses in the pressroom at the 43rd annual Daytime Emmy Awards, on May 1, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

JTA — Mike Richards, the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” who was tapped as the successor to Alex Trebek, will no longer host the game show following backlash to offensive comments he made about a range of groups, including Jews.

Last week, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that Richards was set to be the daily host of “Jeopardy!”, with the Jewish actor Mayim Bialik hosting primetime specials. But days after the announcement, The Ringer, a sports and culture publication, reported on a range of derogatory comments Richards made on “The Randumb Show,” a podcast he co-hosted in 2013 and 2014 about “The Price Is Right,” which he also executive produced.

In one episode, during a discussion of noses, he said, ““Ixnay on the ose-nay” and “She’s not an ew-Jay.” (That’s Pig-Latin for “Nix on the nose, she’s not a Jew.”)

The Ringer also reported that Richards made a number of negative comments about women’s clothing, weight and appearance. He also made derogatory comments about Haiti, people who are homeless and people with disabilities.

The comments elicited widespread criticism, including from the Anti-Defamation League, which called for Richards to be investigated. On Friday, Richards announced he would no longer host the show. He will remain the show’s executive producer.

“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,” he said in a statement. “As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately.”

Mayim Bialik in her ‘Jeopardy!’ debut, on May 31, 2021. (Screenshot from ABC)

Richards said that a search for a new host will begin again, with guest hosts returning to continue production for the new season, he said in the note.

“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. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence,” he said.

This is the second time this week that antisemitism has entered into the public reaction to the “Jeopardy!” host announcement. On Monday, The Daily Beast said that it would review its editorial standards after one of its reporters wrote an article calling the Israel Defense Forces “genocidal” in an article criticizing Bialik, who is Jewish.

AP contributed to this report

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