Richards issued the apology as a statement to The Ringer, which published reports of the remarks on Wednesday.
According to the publication, Richards “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies” on The Randumb Show, which Richards hosted between 2013 and 2014.
“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago,” Richards said in his apology.
“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.”
Richards said he has removed the episodes in question, adding: “Even with the passage of time, it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable.
“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.”
According to The Ringer, a 2014 episode that aired after the iCloud photo hack, which caused some celebrities’ nude photos to leak, saw Richards “[ask] 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?’” the outlet reported.
According to The Ringer, Richards also used the words “booth ho” and “booth slut” to refer to his co-host’s former job as a model at CES, a large tech trade show.
The Independent has contacted Sony Pictures Television, the production company behind Jeopardy!, for comment. Sony declined to comment when contacted by The Ringer, but the outlet said a source at the company had said that “the studio was unaware of the podcast’s existence or the episodes’ removal” until The Ringer notified them.
Earlier this month, Richards sent a note to Jeopardy! staffers (later provided to NBC News) addressing two past discrimination lawsuits dating back to his previous producing position on The Price is Right.
Richards denied any wrongdoing, describing the lawsuits as “employment disputes” and adding in part: “I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterised in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right.”
On Jeopardy!, Richards will share hosting duties with The Big Bang Theory alumna Mayim Bialik. Richards will be the full-time host of the daily game show, while Bialik will host its primetime and spinoff series (including a forthcoming Jeopardy! National College Championship).
Bialik and Richards are taking over from Alex Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer in November 2020.