Wendy Williams slammed over "incredibly offensive" and "disgusting" cleft lip joke
10 January 2020, 12:33 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 12:36
Williams appeared to mock cleft lips while discussing actor Joaquin Phoenix's facial scar.
Wendy Williams is facing backlash after appearing to mock cleft lips while discussing 'Joker' actor Joaquin Phoenix.
Williams goes on to say she finds Joaquin "oddly attractive" and discusses his facial features. "He’s got that good nose that dips way down and he’s happy with, so am I," she said, before commenting on the scar above his lip.
"And when he shaves off his moustache he’s got a hairline fracture. He’s got one of those... what do you call it? Cleft lip palette," says Wendy, proceeding to lift up the corner of her mouth with her finger to mimic a cleft lip.
"I find it to be very attractive," Wendy adds as the studio audience laugh. Soon after clip was published online, Williams was heavily criticised by people who were offended by her comments.
"The down right most disrespectful bulls**t I’ve seen. Cleft lips are hilarious aren’t they, @WendyWilliams?" wrote one user.
"The gesture she makes with her fingers to her mouth is one I encountered many times as a child being bullied for my cleft and even today I shudder when I see this. Horrific and inexcusable," wrote another.
For a solid 10 seconds she used her finger to mimic a cleft lip while the audience laughed. Imagine how my 5 year old would take it if he saw it? @WendyWilliams— Matt Groark (@groarkboysbbq) January 8, 2020
I only speak on it bc I’m personally informed and educated on the topic. #bebetter Do work Twitter pic.twitter.com/whfBbCVZE4
The gesture she makes with her fingers to her mouth is one I encountered many times as a child being bullied for my cleft and even today I shudder when I see this. Horrific and inexcusable.— Jenny Engström Baron (@J_EngstromBaron) January 9, 2020
My son is 18 next week. Born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, he has had more than a dozen operations. He will carry the physical scars throughout his life. He and our family also carry emotional scars. Scars that do not heal.— kvisl (@thekvisl) January 10, 2020
This video is horrible.
@carolvorders Disgusting., my beautiful talented daughter also has a cleft lip and this is what she’s had to deal with all her life ., shame on you., @WendyWilliams https://t.co/B1B1YDmUKl pic.twitter.com/Z5dBOPQIhw— Sharon Brunton (@brunton_sharon) January 10, 2020
As Ambassador for Cleft Lip and Palate Association @CLAPACOMMUNITY I really am disgusted by this @wendywilliams.. Mimicing a cleft lip, and making a joke about it, is disgraceful. Have you any idea the pain and operations a child with cleft must go through as they grow? Please RT https://t.co/bINZItpWgI— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) January 9, 2020
British media personality Carol Vorderman, who works closely with cleft lip charities, slammed Williams on Twitter.
"As Ambassador for Cleft Lip and Palate Association @CLAPACOMMUNITY I really am disgusted by this @wendywilliams.. Mimicing a cleft lip, and making a joke about it, is disgraceful. Have you any idea the pain and operations a child with cleft must go through as they grow?" she wrote.
The Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) have called for a public, on-air apology from Williams, naming her actions "ignorant" and "offensive".
At the time of writing, Williams is yet to respond to the backlash.