More than 63,000 fans call for Wendy Williams fired after cleft lip controversy
Backlash against TV personality Wendy Williams has reached boiling point after more than 63,000 fans are rallying for her to be fired as host of her titular programme.
Despite apologising on social media last week, detractors – including Cher – have piled on Williams since she crudely mocked actor Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft lip.
Moreover, a change.org petition was created by a mother whose son was born with the birth defect, branding her imitation as “disgusting”.
Wendy Williams imitates cleft clip, causing controversy.
On a January 7 episode of The Wendy Williams Show, the 55-year-old discussed the Joker actor’s Golden Globes win.
“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 singer Cher joining in the chorus of widespread criticism.
BEFORE THEIR TEENS‼️MUCH OF THE TIME THEY ARE IN PAIN,AFRAID,BUT HAVE HOPE ??THEY WILL LOOK NORMAL. THE?& FEAR THEIR PARENTS GO THROUGH IS UNBEARABLE. IF YOUR MOM SAW WHAT YOU DID SHE’D BE ASHAMED. MY MOM TAUGHT ME TO LOVE & HELP PPL IN PAIN.WHO ARE U⁉️U SHOULD B FIRED
— Cher (@cher) January 16, 2020
Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill slammed the TV star.
Thank you everyone for coming together, I can’t tell you what it means to me to see your love/support!! Well over 30k ppl have been a part of this! @WendyWilliams still owes a public apology to every1 of the cleft community. Please see my message/thoughts in the pics below pic.twitter.com/SXntjtaKBP
— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) January 11, 2020
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.
‘Does an apology make up for this?’
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.
. @Bighill44 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.
— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) January 16, 2020
“I want to apologised 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.
But for many fans, Cher included, all the star’s apology did was fan the flames of hate further.
DOES AN APOLOGY MAKE UP FOR THIS pic.twitter.com/Su0OHB8hTG
— Cher (@cher) January 16, 2020
While the petition – started last week – has since gained 63,018 signatures from furious fans calling on her to be fired by the FOX Broadcasting Company.
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Signatories condemned Williams in the comments, with one user writing: “She is disgusting, ignorant and needs to be banned from daytime TV.”
Another added: “What she did was so wrong and she should be held accountable for her actions.”