When Wendy Williams was talking about the actor Joaquin Phoenix on her talk show, she could not resist the temptation to make fun of the man’s cleft pallet. Because she just couldn’t resist poking fun at the actor who she called “oddly attractive,” despite the fact that he has a scar on his face from the cleft pallet operation that he had as a child.
Since she made the joke on her January 7, 2020, show, the 55-year-old Wendy Williams has been petitioned to step down. Thousands of people have signed the petition demanding that the network fire her from her program for bullying a member of the cleft pallet community.
“He knows how to transform, when he shaves [his beard] off, the way he looks at you,” Williams said (via People) while speaking about his role as Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line.” “And he’s got the good nose that dips way down like he’s happy with it, and so am I.”
However, Wendy was not done railing into Phoenix for looking different than most actors because of the scar.
“When he shaves off his mustache, he’s got a hairline fracture. He’s got one of those — what do you call it — cleft lip, cleft palate. He’s got this.”
At this point, Williams sticks her finger in her mouth like a fish hook and pulls up her lip to reveal her teeth. As soon as she did this, people on social media started calling Williams a “bully” and someone who should get off of the television. They labeled her remarks “disgusting and detrimental.”
Adam Bighill, a Canadian football player, announced on Twitter that his son had a cleft lip. He called out Williams for her remarks and said that his son was going into surgery to repair his lips, and it was not a joke to be made. He demanded Williams apologize for her crude and disgusting behavior.
“ We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery. I want to apologize to the cleft community, and in Beau’s honor, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community,” she tweeted.
Bighill thanked Williams for responding and told her that he accepted her apology. But not everyone was as easily assuaged as the Canadian football player.
“Thank you @WendyWilliams for your apology, your donation, and for thinking of Beau today for his surgery. I forgive you, and I encourage others to as well. I wish you all the best,” he tweeted.
Wendy Williams has been on the defense this whole month. Earlier, SiriusXM radio show host Howard Stern ranted about Wiliams when he made it into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
“No offense to Wendy Williams, but they put Wendy Williams in before me,” he said.
She lashed out, saying:
“I know the only reason I got in is that I had a new talk show. I went from radio, successful, to TV with my own show. You haven’t done that. …. Howard, all I am saying is, keep your hundreds of thousands of dollars, your beautiful wife, Beth, all of those animals that you will rescue and be happy, man. And stop hating on me. Because I don’t hate you!”
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