Wendy Williams ‘Mocks’ Joaquin Phoenix’s Cleft Lip And People Are Furious

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 15 Jan 2020 15:32
People Furious After Wendy Williams Mocks Joaquin Phoenix's Cleft LipPeople Furious After Wendy Williams Mocks Joaquin Phoenix's Cleft LipPA/The Wendy Williams Show/Fox Broadcasting Comapny/BET

Joaquin Phoenix has been everywhere in recent months after his fantastic performance in Joker, and while most have nothing but great things to say about him, TV presenter Wendy Williams has made some questionable remarks about the actor.

While presenting her TV programme The Wendy Williams Show, the 55-year-old started speaking about Phoenix’s appearance.


Initially commenting on his ‘piercing eyes’, Williams went onto comment on his scar above his lip, which she says is more noticeable when the actor is without facial hair.

Wendy WiliamsWendy WiliamsThe Wendy Williams Show/Fox Broadcasting Company/BET

She describes Phoenix as having a ‘hairline fracture’, before asking what a cleft palate is and appearing to mimic what one looks like.

Doing an impression of a cleft palate on television probably isn’t the best idea, but to make things worse Williams then continues to hold her lip in an exaggerated position for a further few moments.


Talking to the audience, the TV presenter says she finds Joaquin’s unique features ‘very attractive’, and then stares into the audience while still holding up her lip in the cleft position, to which the audience awkwardly laughs.

You can watch the clip here: 

Phoenix was born with the scar and has never undergone any surgery. It’s said that the award winning actor has a micro cleft – which is the mildest form of a cleft palate – and looks just like a scar on his upper lip.


While the audience may have laughed, the joke has gone down like a lead balloon on social media, with some demanding an apology from the TV host.

British TV personality Carol Vorderman, who has over 420,000 followers on Twitter, expressed how she’s ‘disgusted’ with what Williams did.

The tweet read: 

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? Please RT [sic]


A parent of a child with a cleft palate also tweeted their anger about Williams’ actions.

Their tweet said: 

Hey @WendyWilliams, a public apology to the cleft community is in order. Coming from the father of a beautiful son born with cleft lip/palate, if you had to experience what we have watching our son go through everything he has, you wouldnt be so quick to make fun of this.[sic]


Williams is yet to comment on about what was said and has since tweeted about things unrelated to the incident.

A Change.org petition has since been launched, titled ‘Get Wendy Williams Fired’ after her comments on the show. At the time of writing, more than 9,000 have signed it.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Celebrity, Joaquin Phoenix, Joker


Change.org and 1 other
  1. Change.org

    Get Wendy Williams Fired

  2. The Wendy Williams Show/YouTube

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