TV host Wendy Williams apologized for what seems to be mocking ‘Joker’ actor Joaquin Phoenix upper lip scar.
She was accused of also insulting people who have the same situation, while they were talking about the star’s physical appearance.
She said, “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”. And then she did a mouth gesture by pulling her top lip while saying, “I find it to be very attractive”. This prompted laughter from the audience.
She is now facing criticism from people. The TV host wrote on Twitter and said she wanted to apologize to the cleft community.
The Cleft Lip and Palate Association isn’t satisfied with her action. Spokeswoman Anna Martindale said during an interview that, “She did this on her show with millions upon millions of people watching, and I think she needs to apologize on her show as well.”
William’s daytime show was made for different stations in the country and made the remarks last week, the day after the Golden Globe Awards.
She was gesturing and putting her finger under her top lip and exposing her teeth and gums, and she was referring to Joaquin Phoenix scar “He’s got this, he’s got this.”
According to Martindale, people who are bullied would see this gesture as recognition of “as being like the first thing that bullies do.”
She continued, “With the sarcasm and how she was talking about him, it was obvious that she intended to mock him specifically for that. We work hard to kind of create a very positive space where people can feel empowered and confident about their future about their child’s future. No matter how much work other organizations like us and we do, we’ll never have as much impact as 10 seconds on the television from someone with that much of a viewership doing something like that.”
One of those people who are criticizing the tv host is UK TV presenter Carol Vardaman, an ambassador for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, “Mimicking 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?”
On Wednesday, Williams apologized to Adam Bighill, who is with cleft lip and palate and his four-month-old son, Beau. After apologizing, he said he forgave her.
She shared on her 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’s responded with, “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”.
As for Phoenix, he rarely talks about that condition. The scar seems to be a microform cleft.