The next host of Jeopardy! is facing another controversy.
Mike Richards, the executive producer of Jeopardy! who's set to succeed Alex Trebek as host, issued an apology to The Ringer after journalist Claire McNear reported he "repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women's bodies" in resurfaced podcast episodes from 2013 and 2014.
"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," Richards told The Ringer. "Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry."
According to the report, Richards across various episodes complained that one-piece swimsuits make women look "really frumpy and overweight," said that women "dress like a hooker" on Halloween, asked his assistant and cohost if they had ever taken "booby pictures" after the iCloud photo hack, told his cohost she should audition for Taiwanese roles because of her height, and, after a remark about big noses, said, "Ixnay on the ose-nay. She's not an ew-Jay." He reportedly also used the R-word and a derogatory term for little people and suggested an unhoused women would use a dollar his cohost gave her for "some crack" or "meth."
"The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around," Richards told The Ringer. "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."
This report comes as Richards' selection has already been stirring controversy among Jeopardy! fans due to his involvement in past discrimination lawsuits and because of questions over how much influence he had in the host selection as executive producer. According to The Ringer, Richards is set to get behind the lectern when the show's new season begins taping on Thursday.