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Film and TV

Wendy Williams apologises after crudely mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘cleft lip’ live on air

Josh Milton January 16, 2020
Wendy William's (L) comments about actor Joaquin Phoenix have caused outage. (Screen capture via The Wendy Williams Show/Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Wendy William's (L) comments about actor Joaquin Phoenix have caused outage. (Screen capture via The Wendy Williams Show/Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Wendy Williams has been caught in a crossfire of criticism after crudely mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s “cleft lip” after saying she finds him “oddly attractive” live on air.

The 55-year-old discussed the Oscar-nominated Joker actor on January 7 after his Golden Globes win.

In a slot on The Wendy Williams Show, she fawned over Phoenix’s “piercing eyes”, but her comments on his upper lip prompted backlash.

Wendy Williams criticised after crudely imitating a cleft lip. 

“When he shaves off his moustache, he’s got a hairline fracture,” she said, “he’s got one of those, what do you call it?

“Cleft lip, cleft palate. I find it to be very attractive,” she added.

She then hooked her finger under her lip, imitating the condition.

A cleft palate is a common birth defect which happens when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy.

It affects every one in every 940 births, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Williams’ comments sparked outrage online, with Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill slamming the TV star.

Both Bighill and his son, Beau, we born with a cleft lip and palate. He dubbed Williams’ words as “sickening” and said he would post “everyday until an apology and charitable donation” was made by her.

American footballer campaigns for TV host to apologise. 

Which is precisely what she did five days later on the day Beau was in surgery“getting his lip repaired”.

“We’re thinking about Beau today,” Williams wrote on her Twitter, tagging Bighill, “as he is in surgery.

“I want to apologise to the cleft community and in Beau’s honour.” She then added her donations to Operation Smile Canada and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

Bighill accepted her apology and her donation: “I forgive you, and I encourage others to do as well.

“I wish you all the best.”

More: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker, Wendy Williams

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