Now That Mike Richards Has Stepped Down From “Jeopardy!”, Should Mayim Bialik Follow Suit?

John Oliver recently called out the show for keeping Bialik on as host despite her controversial beliefs

Mayim Bialik in an episode of "Call Me Kat" on FOX.
Mayim Bialik in an episode of "Call Me Kat" on FOX.
FOX Image Collection via Getty I

As anyone who’s been following the extremely messy search for a new permanent host of Jeopardy! already knows, controversial pick Mike Richards has stepped down from the role after past inappropriate comments of his came to light, and Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik are confirmed to host through the end of the year while the show continues its hunt. But should Bialik have stepped down along with Richards?

At least one famous fan seems to think so. In a recent episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver criticized the show for keeping Bialik — who has sparked controversy for her past anti-vax comments and shaming of Harvey Weinstein victims — onboard. Oliver broached the subject while discussing the Del Rio immigration scandal.

“It’s not great when our process for deciding who gets released and who gets expelled is as haphazard as the process in finding the new host of Jeopardy!,” he said. “And, by the way, great job so far, guys. You dodged giving that dude the job permanently and now we’ve got somebody absolutely free of controversy, Mayim Bialik. A person I think is great because I don’t have Google.”

Of course, those of us who do have Google have likely seen the reports of Bialik’s history as an anti-vaxxer. She has since come out and said that she and her family have been vaccinated against COVID-19, but she’s spread dangerous misinformation in the past (including the assertion that a “friend’s brother had an adverse reaction to a vaccination and he is never going to develop mentally past the age of six because of it”) — something that stands in direct contrast to the ethos of Jeopardy!, a show devoted to facts and knowledge.

Bialik also wrote a horrific victim-blaming op-ed for the New York Times in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in which she asserted that she never would have been victimized by a predator like Weinstein because she was never “a perfect ten.” That, of course, is insane; anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, and one American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds, so it’s hardly a problem limited to “perfect tens,” whatever that even means.

The actress then went on to imply that had Weinstein’s victims dressed more modestly or perhaps acted less flirtatiously, they would not have been assaulted. “I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise,” she wrote. “I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.” 

Bialik later denied she was victim-blaming, writing that “vicious people” took her “words out of the context of the Hollywood machine and twisted them to imply that God forbid [she] would blame a woman for her assault based on clothing and behavior.” It’s tough to buy that, however, when she clearly asserted that women can avoid sexual assault by dressing or behaving in certain ways. And that antiquated belief has no place on a show like Jeopardy!

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