Wendy Williams Apologizes After Mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s Cleft Lip Surgery Scar

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Wendy Williams received a lot of backlash after she seemingly mocked those born with cleft lips or palates while she talked about Joaquin Phoenix’s surgery scar on her show last week.

On January 7th’s episode of The Wendy Williams Show, the 55-year-old host shared with her audience that she finds Phoenix “oddly attractive.”

“He played that Johnny Cash. It wasn’t Reese [Witherspoon] who kept me, it was him,” she said, referring to the actor’s performance in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

She continued, “He knows how to transform, when he shaves [his beard] off, the way he looks at you, and he’s got the good nose that dips way down, like he’s happy with it and so am I.”

“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,” Williams added, while using her hand to pull up her own lip. “He’s got this.”

“I find it to be very attractive,” she said, still holding up her own lip above her teeth.

Many slammed Williams online, but one particular person – Canadian football player Adam Bighill – has been tweeting at the talk show host numerous times over the past week demanding an apology.

Bighill’s son, Beau, had cleft lip surgery on Wednesday, the football player shared on Twitter.

“Today is Beau’s big day. He is getting his lip repaired today in Winnipeg by the fantastic Dr. Ross,” he tweeted, alongside a photo holding his son. “Thanks to everyone who has reached out, and in advance, thanks for any of your well wishes for Beau. He is so loved!”

The athlete also wrote, in a since-deleted tweet, that he was still waiting for Williams to apologize for her behavior.

“Waiting for an apology and donation from @WendyWilliams and since we are still waiting, this campaign has gone viral,” Bighill wrote. “This campaign/message is all centered around one thing we all agree on, bullying is awful. Thank you all for being a part of the difference #end bullying”

On Wednesday, Williams replied back to Bighill’s tweet with an apology to him and “to the cleft community.” She also shared that The Wendy Williams Show will donate to both Operation Smile and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association in his son’s honor.

“.@Bighill44 We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery,” Williams tweeted. “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.”

Brittany R

Brittany R

Brittany is a writer who is obsessed with rom-com movies, Gossip Girl, reality television, fashion, and pop-culture. When she isn't reporting on the latest celeb buzz, she is filling up her online shopping cart without checking out.