Wendy Williams slammed over "incredibly offensive" and "disgusting" cleft lip joke

10 January 2020, 12:33 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 12:36

Wendy Williams has been slammed after making a controversial cleft lip joke on her show.
Wendy Williams has been slammed after making a controversial cleft lip joke on her show. Picture: Getty

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.

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During the 'Hot Topics' segment on her eponymous talk show, Williams, 55, spoke about the controversy surrounding Beyoncé sitting down during Phoenix's standing ovation at last week's Golden Globes.

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.

"I find it to be very attractive," said Williams as she pulled up the corner of her mouth with her finger to mimic a cleft lip.
"I find it to be very attractive," said Williams as she pulled up the corner of her mouth with her finger to mimic a cleft lip. Picture: YouTube

"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.

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.

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