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Wendy Williams Faces Backlash For Mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s Cleft Lip

Wendy Williams mocks Joaquin Phoenix’s Cleft lip on her talk show “The Wendy Williams Show” | Image: Youtube

American television host Wendy Williams who never strays too far from controversy is the target of social media angst after she made a joke about actor Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft lips.

During a segment on her TV show, The Wendy Williams show, Williams commented that she found the Joker star and Oscar 2020 nominee “oddly attractive”.

She then went on to make a comment about a scar that Phoenix has, after which she mimicked what it looks like to have a cleft lip or palate, which left the audience laughing.


“He’s got that good nose that dips way down and he’s happy with, so am I,” she said, before commenting on the scar above his lip.

“And 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 palette,” says Wendy, proceeding to lift up the corner of her mouth with her finger to mimic a cleft lip.

“I find it to be very attractive.”

Cleft lip palette is a birth condition in which a baby’s mouth and top lip does not form properly, as is visible through a split in the lip. The condition requires surgical correction at birth.

Wendy Williams’ remark about Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft lips has been met with backlash as fans and social media users have lashed out at her for the insensitive joke.

British TV personality Carol Vorderman said in a tweet that she was disgusted by the joke:

“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”

Canadian footballer Adam Bighill who was born with cleft lips and also has a child with the condition has demanded an apology from Wendy Williams for the past five days.

Other people have also reacted to the remark:

A petition has been launched against Williams on petition website, the petition titled Get Wendy Williams Fired has at the time of this writing garnered over 10,000 signatures.

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