Wendy Williams Forced To Apologise After Mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s Cleft Lip
American TV presenter Wendy Williams has backtracked after outraging fans and celebrities alike with her mockery of Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft lip.
The 55-year-old made the controversial comments while presenting her show, aptly titled The Wendy Williams Show.
While she started off by pointing out his ‘piercing eyes’, she swiftly moved onto taking a jab at his cleft palate, pulling her lip up while audience members laughed. However, viewers at home didn’t find it quite so amusing.
Starting off by calling the Oscar-nominated actor ‘unusually attractive’, she then said: ‘When he shaves off his moustache he’s got a hairline fracture. He’s got one of those – what do you call it? Cleft lip, cleft palate.’
The nonsurgical scar – which Phoenix has had on his top lip since birth – is often covered by facial hair. As per the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, he was likely born with a ‘microform cleft’, which doesn’t necessarily require surgery but leaves a groove on the lip.
Cher posted her outrage on Twitter in a series of tweets:
After someone replied, saying Williams had apologised, Cher responded:
British TV’s Carol Vorderman drew attention to Williams’ behaviour last week, saying she was ‘disgusted’:
Williams eventually issued an apology after Adam Bighill, a Canadian football player who was born with the condition as well as his son, got in touch with her. After Bighill posted a photo of his son Beau ready to go in for surgery, the host apologised to the ‘cleft community’.
Williams wrote on Twitter:
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.
Bighill has since responded, replying: ‘Thank you @WendyWilliams for your apology, your donation, and for thinking of Beau today for his surgery. I forgive you, and I encourage others to as well. I wish you all the best.’
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CreditsCleft Lip and Palate Association
Cleft Lip and Palate Association