This Is Why "Jeopardy!" Fans Are Calling for Mayim Bialik to Be Fired Now
Some fans are calling for Mayim Bialik to be fired over previous comments she made.
When Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died in 2020, the beloved television personality left big shoes to fill. For months, Jeopardy! held endless rounds of unofficial auditions with guest hosts that included everyone from fan favorite LeVar Burton to Katie Couric to Anderson Cooper.
But in the end, the show's producers chose Mike Richards—a little-known public figure in the game show world who also happens to be the executive producer of Jeopardy!—to host the show regularly. Former Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik was also chosen to host Jeopardy!'s primetime specials and any spinoff series.
But then, when a number of offensive and inappropriate comments Richards had made about women and Jewish, Asian, and Haitian people resurfaced from his former podcast The Randumb Show, he stepped down. (He will be remaining on the show as executive producer, however.)
But now, Jeopardy! fans are casting a critical eye at Bialik and some say she should be ousted, too. Read on to find out why.
Mayim Bialik may seem to many like the perfect Jeopardy! host.
Bialik rose to fame as a teen with a breakout role playing a young version of Bette Midler's character in Beaches. She then went on to star on the hit sitcom Blossom from 1990 to 1995.
More recently, Bialik enjoyed a renaissance playing neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the wildly successful sitcom The Big Bang Theory. She's also a neuroscientist in real life—the actor graduated with a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007.
It was Bialik's combination of on-screen smarts on Big Bang Theory and her real-life studies that made her a top contender to join Jeopardy!
But she's made controversial vaccination comments in the past, which have come to light since she earned the Jeopardy! gig.
Bialik wrote in her 2012 parenting book Beyond the Sling that she and her then-husband Michael Stone had opted not to get their two children, Miles and Frederick, vaccinated. "We made an informed decision not to vaccinate our children," she wrote in the book. "This is a very personal decision that should be made only after sufficient research, which today is within reach of every parent who seeks to learn about their child's health regardless of their medical knowledge or educational status."
After taking some heat for the comment in the book, Bialik tweeted in 2015 that she had been misunderstood. "I would like to dispel the rumors about my stance on vaccines," she wrote. "I am not anti-vaccine. My children are vaccinated. There has been so much hysteria and anger about this issue, and I hope this clears things up as far as my part."
More recently, in a YouTube video from Dec. 2020, Bialik further explained why she and her children would be getting the COVID vaccine. "I have never, not once, said that vaccines are not valuable, not useful, or not necessary—because they are," she said. "I received a ton of negative press about this and to be quite honest, most of it was inaccurate. The internet jury decided I was a danger to my children, a disgrace to science, and a member of the Hollywood elite responsible for the killing of babies."
She went on to say that she hadn't opted out of vaccinating her children entirely, but that she had delayed getting her kids vaccinated early on "for reasons that you don't necessarily get to know about simply because you follow me on social media." She then mentioned vaccine-related allergies and severe reactions, without revealing whether her children are susceptible to those issues.
Bialik's controversial vaccine comments were resurfaced by angry Jeopardy! fans once it was announced she'd officially be hosting. "Keep in mind that Mayim Bialik, though vaccinated, spreads vaccine doubt and hawks brain quackery," journalism professor and former TV critic Jeff Jarvis tweeted. "She is no representative for a show about facts and authority."
"To be honest, primetime #JEOPARDY host Mayim Bialik is more scandalous," another Twitter user wrote, comparing her to Richards. "She is an anti-vaxxer who pushes some fake 'brain' product on TV commercials."
A spokesperson for Bialik told The Wrap on Wednesday, the same day she and Richards were announced as hosts: "She has been fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus and is not at all an anti-vaxxer."
Jeopardy! fans are also angry over Bialik's 2017 New York Times editorial about Harvey Weinstein.
Critics of Bialik also cited a 2017 editorial she wrote for The New York Times titled "Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World" as an example of a "victim-blaming" mentality.
Some have specifically highlighted a portion where Bialik wrote: "I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. 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."
A few days after the article was released, Bialik issued a mea culpa on Twitter. "There is no way to avoid being the victim of an assault by what you wear or the way you behave," she wrote days after social media users lambasted her for the article. "I really do regret that this became what it became."
Later, in a Facebook Live interview with then-New York Times editorial board member Bari Weiss, she added: "There is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave. I really do regret that this became what it became … The only people who are responsible for their behavior and assault are the predators who are committing those horrendous acts."
For now, Bialik still has the Jeopardy! job and producers are searching for a new permanent host.
Earlier this week, the executives behind the beleaguered show announced that they would be asking a slew of guest hosts back while they continue to search for a permanent Trebek replacement.
"It shouldn't be this hard for @levarburton to receive serious consideration as @Jeopardy host," author Roxanne Gay tweeted. "He isn't some random idea people have. He taught generations of children to read. He has real depth. He is charming and handsome."