Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer is not holding back when it comes to Mike Richards and his game show drama. Richards was officially fired from Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on Tuesday after his past racist and sexist comments resurfaced. Holzhauer tweeted about his own experience with Richards on set.
“Do I think Mike Richards’s podcast comments were appropriate for polite society? No. But did he deserve the benefit of the doubt for the job he did running Jeopardy? Also no,” Holzhauer tweeted after the news broke. The post picked up thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets, as well as commentary from fans around the world. Holzhauer later posted a GIF of the “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead” musical number from The Wizard of Oz.
— Shawn Knutson (@Hemmer_44) August 31, 2021
“I sincerely appreciated the total lack of enthusiasm shown by you, Ken, et al,” one commenter wrote. Another added: “Did Mike Richards deserve to keep his job as Executive Producer? Also no.” A third person wrote: “I’m just curious if the animosity from you is based entirely on the stuff we all know about (which is certainly more than enough), or is there also some ‘inside baseball’ factors that involve you personally.”
Richards joined Sony Pictures Television as an EP of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in 2020 and was one of the first celebrity guest hosts of Jeopardy! in 2021 after Alex Trebek passed away. Fans were angry enough when Richards was hired to become the permanent host, feeling that he had “hired himself” from within the company, despite the popularity of other celebrity guest hosts.
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) August 31, 2021
However, in the weeks that followed Richards’ past comments came back to haunt him — particularly remarks from The Randumb Show podcast he co-hosted from 2013 to 2014. According to a report by The Ringer, Richards made sexist comments to his two female co-hosts and disparaged Jewish people and Haitian people during the show. Internal complaints about Richards’ behavior in the workplace also resurfaced.
Richards stepped down as host after one taping, saying that he felt these scandals would distract from the game show itself. On Tuesday, Variety reported that Richards had been fired as EP as well, although other reports indicated that he had stepped down voluntarily.
Either way, insults from Holzhauer could not have helped Richards’ standing in the Jeopardy! fandom. Holzhauer is one of the most well-known champions in the game show’s history with a record-setting 32-game win streak. So far, he has not elaborated on Tuesday’s tweets.