Mike Richards, the guy who essentially hired himself as host of Jeopardy! to the dismay of most of the show’s fans, appears to be a huge shithead:
Concerns about Richards extend to the Jeopardy! staff, with a source close to the show telling The Ringer that employees were blindsided by Sony’s announcement and multiple sources describing how staff morale has deteriorated under Richards’s watch as EP. Interviews with sources from Sony, Jeopardy!, and previous shows Richards has worked on, including The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal, paint a picture of a showrunner who could be exclusionary and dismissive of longtime show employees—as well as someone who wasn’t shy about wanting to move in front of the camera. Says a former Deal employee who was at the show during Richards’s tenure: “When I worked there, it just seemed to be something everyone knew.”
In recent weeks, questions about Richards have only intensified, with multiple lawsuits dating to his time as EP of The Price Is Right gaining attention after an early-August report that Richards was in advanced negotiations to secure the Jeopardy! host job. The lawsuits, two of which were settled out of court, focused on the mistreatment of female employees by Price’s male leadership, including Richards. Richards was originally named as a defendant in one of those complaints, but was dismissed from the suit before it settled.
One suit was filed in 2010 by Brandi Cochran, who worked as a model on the show. It centered on the discrimination and harassment she said she experienced after becoming pregnant. At the time, The Price Is Right had recently laid off several models; the suit says that after Cochran informed Richards of her pregnancy, he “said to her, ‘Go figure! I fire five girls … what are the odds?’” which Cochran understood “to mean that Richards would have selected her for layoff if he had known that she was going to get pregnant.” After giving birth, she learned that her contract had been terminated.
Cochran’s lawsuit also detailed Richards’s input on what the show’s models should wear. “Richards decided that the models’ skirts should be shorter and said that he liked the models to look as if they were going out on a date,” the suit says. “At his suggestion, models wore bikinis on the show more frequently.”
But the sources who spoke to The Ringer, who were granted anonymity out of concern for potential retaliation, depict a different reality. Richards’s statement also does not align with several remarks he made on The RandumbShow, which he hosted from 2013 to 2014. A review of all 41 episodes of the podcast that were available online until Tuesday reveals that Richards repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies. In an episode published on September 4, 2014, after the iCloud photo hack, which exposed intimate images of numerous female celebrities, Richards asked his assistant and his cohost—both much younger women—whether they had ever taken nude photos. When his cohost said that she had sometimes taken photos of herself when she thought she looked cute, Richards responded, “Like booby pictures? What are we looking at?” Later, he asked to go through her phone; when she declined to share an image with him, he asked whether it was “of [her] boobies.”
On another 2014 episode, Richards said that one-piece swimsuits made women look “really frumpy and overweight,” echoing the portion of Cochran’s lawsuit that mentions Richards’s preferences about swimwear.
Well, see, constant gross sexism is something you just have to put up with to get indispensable men with exceptional credentials like “has never hosted anything in his life” and who will generate reactions from fans like “who the fuck is that?” To believe otherwise would be CANCEL CULTURE!