NEW YORK – Judge Wapner has hammered the gavel down on Judge Judy, calling the tough-talking TV jurist an embarrassment to judges everywhere.
Retired L.A. County Superior Court Judge Joseph Wapner -- the original star of The People's Court -- blasted the reigning queen of TV court, Judith Sheindlin, saying her Judge Judy persona is rude and gives the public an inaccurate view of U.S. courtrooms.
"She is not portraying a judge as I view a judge should act," Wapner said. "She's discourteous, and she's abrasive. She's not slightly insulting. She's insulting in capital letters!"
Wapner, 83, made his stinging comments during an interview Sunday, after he ran a mock court in Los Angeles during which lay Jewish scholars put Abraham on trial for the 3,000-year-old attempted murder of his son Isaac.
Sheindlin, a 60-year- old former Manhattan Family Court judge, fired back at her judicial prosecutor yesterday and shredded Wapner's upbringing.
"I refuse to engage in similar mud slinging," Judge Judy said through her publicist.
"I don't know where or by whom Judge Wapner was raised.
"But my parents taught me when you don't have something nice to say about someone, say nothing. Clearly, Judge Wapner was absent on the day that lesson was taught."
Wapner is best known for his work on The People's Court between 1981 and 1993. Its popularity spawned several other, similar small-claims court shows.
Sheindlin's husband -- Judge Jerry Sheindlin -- sat on The People's Court bench from 1999 to 2001, and Judge Judy has been the star of her own hit courtroom program since 1996.
But Wapner says Judge Judy - whose show is the most popular afternoon program in the country -- is not one to talk about manners.
"I think [Judge Judy] creates the wrong impression," he said of her brash demeanor. "You don't have to do that to have good television."
People's Court producer Stu Billett said he agreed with some of Wapner's comments, but also defended Judge Judy.
"There is some truth in what he's saying," Billett said. "But [Judge Judy] is who she is."