October 27, 2021

‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik’s Ugly Historical past of Shaming Weinstein’s Victims and Being an Anti-Vaxxer

4 min read

It might’ve all been so easy, however the people over at CBS simply had to make it onerous.

Earlier this week, The Day by day Beast reported that after an prolonged competitors that includes doable visitors resembling Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, LeVar Burton and Robin Roberts, to call a couple of, Jeopardy! internet hosting duties can be carried out by longtime executive producer Mike Richards and former Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, who’d host Jeopardy! spin-off competitions. Within the case of Richards, CBS publicly did what many corporations do privately: name for various candidates whereas already having an insider primed for the specified function. For Bialik, she was part of the aggressive motion whose choice might simply be spun as a variety rent if we didn’t know all that we do about how variety and inclusion insurance policies have traditionally privileged white ladies (or maybe to supply cowl for Richards, in mild of the resurfaced sexism allegations). Regardless, the circus CBS determined to prop up round what ended up being a moderately vanilla choice solely made them look worse.

CBS might’ve simply chosen the route most frequently traveled with out all of the fanfare, however they as an alternative opened the door of consultant risk: what would appear to be for an endearing Black girl, a well-read Black man and even its most profitable contestant to helm America’s foremost intellect-based recreation present? Burton, specifically, fielded a rapturous response to his candidacy, boasting a robust bond with Gen X and millennial viewers who remembered him from the trailblazing Studying Rainbow of the ‘80s and ‘90s and his ongoing Levar Burton Reads podcast. “I’m attempting to maintain them,” he told The Daily Beast in April, “this technology, engaged with their imaginations.” Dangling the extra imaginative model of Jeopardy! in entrance of that technology of viewers after Alex Trebek’s sparkling 30-year run provides salt to a deep wound.

And what a twofer they selected. Richards’ management, as previously reported by The Daily Beast and elsewhere, has been referred to as into query relationship again to 2010 when fashions at his final gig, The Value is Proper, alleged harassment and discrimination after they had been both fired or marginalized for changing into pregnant. Richards denied the allegations, and as circumstances failed to fulfill the statute of limitations, he acquired off scot-free. Provided that she was a relative outsider, Bialik’s purple flags could be much more alarming. From promoting anti-vaccine literature in her personal writing, the place in a single breath she wrote that she doesn’t wish to “dismiss” the households who’ve endured horrible tragedies as a result of being unvaccinated, however within the subsequent defended her anti-vaxx stance by sharing {that a} “buddy’s brother had an opposed response to a vaccination and he’s by no means going to develop mentally previous the age of 6 due to it,” appears actually cheesy and insensitive and improper (even when true). She conveniently pivoted to admitting that she and her sons are vaccinated extra just lately, simply in time for her Jeopardy! Audition.

Then there was her victim-blaming New York Instances op-ed about Harvey Weinstein, concluding that she was by no means a “good ten” and subsequently wouldn’t be topic to his form of predation. Whereas self-identifying as a feminist, in a bit written simply days after the Instances broke the information of Weinstein’s violent and predatory habits, she wrote, “I nonetheless make decisions daily as a 41-year-old actress that I consider as self-protecting and smart. I’ve determined that my sexual self is finest reserved for personal conditions with these I’m most intimate with. I gown modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with males as a coverage.” She would pivot, as soon as once more (sensing a sample right here?), to dismissing the claims of her victim-blaming on “vicious individuals,” saying that readers took her “phrases out of the context of the Hollywood machine and twisted them to suggest that God forbid [she] would blame a girl for her assault based mostly on clothes and habits.”

I nonetheless make decisions daily as a 41-year-old actress that I consider as self-protecting and smart. I’ve determined that my sexual self is finest reserved for personal conditions with these I’m most intimate with. I gown modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with males as a coverage.

Talking of gods and shady habits, Bialik loudly proclaimed her donation towards bulletproof vests for the genocidal Israeli Protection Forces again in 2014 simply out of “a have to do one thing.” After dealing with backlash, she quieted for a time till Could of this yr, the place she self-identified as a “liberal Zionist” who, like many different celebrities, spouted bothsidesism: “Israel deserves to reside as an autonomous free and secure nation,” she told Fox Information. “The Palestinian individuals deserve the identical. What is occurring now by extremists on each side is tragic. It’s horrendous. It’s unacceptable. And I’ve to carry out hope that peace and justice will prevail.”

And pay attention, nobody is complicated Jeopardy! for some left-leaning trivial pursuit. It’s very clear—whether or not by class decisions or the awkward silences from contestants on solutions about non-white, non-straight historical past and tradition—that this isn’t a recreation present essentially geared for non-traditionalism (they’d the identical host for greater than 30 years for a motive). However what the previous few months have represented for the sport present was a chance to do one thing totally different; to develop their viewers’s perceptions of what’s thought of usable information or enjoyable trivia from individuals with a background that’s categorically totally different from the viewers. As an alternative, they acquired the hopes up of 1000’s of oldsters who aren’t conventional and made it plain that they couldn’t care much less about these viewers. A Large Bang, certainly.

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