L: Fox, R: Steve Granitz / Getty Images

Wendy Williams Apologizes After Being Called Out For Mocking Joaquin Phoenix's 'Cleft Lip'


As humans, we all make mistakes, and it's important to recognize that and atone for the messes we make.

Wendy Williams is learning that lesson this week after comments she made about Joaquin Phoenix's appearance.

While doing a recap of the Golden Globes on her talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, Williams focused first on Beyonce's decision not to rise for the standing ovation given to Joaquin Phoenix after his win for Joker. At first, in what seemed like a commentary on Beyonce's refusal to rise, Williams asked who Joaquin Phoenix is, but very quickly any point she was trying to make got lost in the weeds.

Instead of focusing on Phoenix's win for Joker, or other ways he's contributed to the acting community, she instead focused on his appearance.

Williams confessed:

"By the way, I think I've shared this with you before: I find him oddly attractive. He played that Johnny Cash. It wasn't Reese [Witherspoon] who kept me. It was him."

While referencing a picture from Joker, Williams said:

"This right here, I don't know anything about this."

Williams then tried to make a point, before the whole commentary turned ugly:

"He knows how to transform. When he shaves [his beard] off... The way he looks at you... he's got that good nose... He's got that, what do you call it? Cleft lip. I find that to be very attractive."

Williams then pulled up her lip in a mocking way and held the gesture for an upwards of ten seconds for the camera.


Comments started pouring in quickly regarding Williams' insensitive actions.

Many said this qualified as bullying against those born with cleft palates or cleft lips and demanded Williams respond and apologize for her behavior.

One of the most vocal critics was Canadian football player Adam Bighill, whose young son, Beau, had surgery just this week to repair his lip.

He called Williams out for promoting "bullying."

After several days of silence, Williams offered an apology to Bighill and the cleft community while asking her fans to donate to a charity that helps those with facial deformities through free corrective surgical procedures.

Many, however, were unhappy with the brief apology and pointed out that it was more of an ask for donations.

Williams also appears to attempt to buy her way out of her behavior with her show's donations to the two causes.

She also didn't apologize to Phoenix specifically, who was the target of her original comments.

Whether or not Williams will expand upon her apology and include Joaquin Phoenix this time remains unclear.

But many hope Williams will think before she speaks in the future.

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