Wendy Williams is known for causing a commotion amongst her peers and colleagues. The television personality rarely holds her tongue and often speaks her mind. Williams recently came under fire for mocking Joaquin Phoenix, but not for his acting skills. The host poked fun at Phoenix’s facial scar. While it seemed to have been a one-off comment, it wasn’t well-received by fans of the actor.
During Williams’ popular “Hot Topics” segment, the host pulled up a picture of Phoenix and commented on the actor’s scar above his lip. “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 told her studio audience before physically pulling her own lip upwards in an imitation.
The Joker star never commented publicly about his scar until his most recent interview with Vanity Fair. The actor revealed that the scar isn’t from a surgical procedure but something he was actually born with. Despite this, the actor has learned to embrace his physical features which has helped him play particular roles. Phoenix, who is currently nominated for an Oscar, was also born with a distended shoulder that he made use of in his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in the comic book movie.
Wendy Williams soon apologized to Joaquin Phoenix
Following the controversial comment, Williams immediately received backlash. One person in particular that was not fond of Williams’ comment was singer Cher, who is a spokesperson for people with cleft palates. Cher took to Twitter to slam the host and stated that there was no apology Williams could give that would make up for her insensitive comment.
Canadian football star Adam Bighill, whose son Beau was born with a cleft palate, also took to social media to share his disappointment in Williams’ statement, commenting that it “clearly promoted bullying.” Williams took to Twitter to issue an apology to not only Phoenix, but also to anyone who deals with similar facial issues. “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,” Williams wrote.
It is unclear if Phoenix accepted Williams’ apology, but Bighill took to social media to commend Williams for her attempt in making things right. The Williams-Phoenix drama is only one of many feuds the host has been entangled in throughout her years in media. Williams’ own personal life also came under fire when it was announced that she was divorcing her husband, Kevin Hunter, after it was speculated that he fathered a child with his rumored mistress.