A different take. A Deal or No Deal executive hit back after Meghan Markle claimed the game show demeans women.
Lucas Green — the chief content officer at Banijay, which owns the Deal or No Deal format — responded to the Duchess of Sussex’s comments in an interview with Variety published on Wednesday, May 24. When asked whether he agreed with Meghan’s assertion that the show’s briefcase models are “objectified,” Green said that he didn’t.
“No, but we are constantly evolving the format so that it isn’t the same show it was 15-plus years ago,” Green told the outlet. “A lot of work goes into modernizing our formats to ensure they represent our values as a company and wider society. The U.K. version, for example, will continue to use members of the public from all walks of life to open the boxes [instead of models].”
The former actress, 41, made headlines in October 2022 when she said she felt like a “bimbo” during her tenure on the game show, which lasted from 2006 to 2007. “When I look back at that time, I’ll never forget this one detail,” the Suits alum recalled during an episode of her “Archetypes” podcast. “There was a woman who ran the show and she’d be there backstage and I can still hear her … she’d go, ‘Markle, suck it in! Markle, suck it in!’”
The Bench author added that her fellow briefcase models were “smart women,” but “the focus” wasn’t on their brains. “I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage,” the Archewell cofounder continued. “I didn’t like being forced to be all looks and little substance, and that’s how it felt for me at the time — being reduced to this specific archetype.”
After Meghan’s comments went viral, Deal or No Deal‘s former stylist Dina Cerchione offered a different take on the briefcase models. “To know me is to know I love my work. It’s been a rough week watching a show I love SO much be criticized,” Cerchione wrote via Instagram in October 2022. “I had the privilege to design the looks for Deal or No Dealfor all of the women and, of course, @howiemandel.”
She added: “It was one of the most wonderful, challenging, highs profile gigs of my career and I loved every minute of it. Everyone on the show from my wardrobe team to the producers, the crew, hair and makeup, [host] Howie [Mandel] and especially the models all worked SO very hard to make the shows the best they could be for the contestants and the fans who adored it. I have thought a lot about this, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Mandel, 67, later said he didn’t understand the “big hoopla” surrounding Meghan’s remarks. “I don’t think she’s maligning Deal or No Deal,” the comedian exclusively told Us Weekly in October 2022, adding that he thought his former colleague was just sharing “what was going on in her mind” during filming. “I don’t think there weren’t ever [any] complaints from any of the women. And unlike most shows up until that point, the ladies had more to do. They weren’t just pointing out gifts and opening [cases]a lot of times they were mic’d and they had their input.”
While some critics slammed Meghan for speaking out, a source told Us that the duchess wasn’t bothered by the backlash. “She’s learned a long time ago not to get too cut up or demotivated by those who wish to dwell in negativity, especially over something so trivial as a job she left many years ago,” the insider explained in October 2022. “She knows that there are certain critics who will go to great lengths to stir the pot and call her out as a hypocrite in any way possible.”