In his long stint as the host of “Price is Right,” Bob Barker slept with God-only-knows how many showroom models before he got hit with a string of sexual harassment lawsuits starting in the mid-nineties. He also, as this video of clips from the 1970s reveals, had a habit of being a little handsy and condescending to female contestants. Now, Rich from fourfour (who made the clip) and the rest of the Internet are writing headlines about what a creep Bob Barker was, but I’m actually kind of disappointed that Barker isn’t more pervy.
I mean, yes: Barker’s attitude and physical contact would be completely unacceptable today, but this doesn’t even BEGIN to register on the Richard Dawson Sexual Harassment Scale. Dawson was the longtime “Family Feud” host who had a habit of “kissing all the female contestants, [which] was one of the things that made the show appear to be a warm and friendly program” (Wiki). Check out the video below: that’s some quality harassment.
I understand that — as someone who publicly longs for the days of drinking scotch and groping secretaries in the workplace — I’m not exactly the best person to defend Barker here. But it’s hardly fair to judge his actions in the 1970s by the standards of 2010.