Wendy Willams Under Fire For Making Fun Of Cleft Lips

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Talk show host Wendy Williams is known for being outspoken and not afraid to ruffle some feathers. Most recently, she’s received some backlash for poking fun at cleft lips during The Wendy Williams Show. During the “Hot Topic” segment of her show, she discussed actor Joaquin Phoenix, who has a pretty noticeable scar along his lip due to a surgery to correct a cleft lip, according to Captial Extra.

While Williams did note that she finds this feature to be attractive, she came under fire for the gestures she used to imitate a cleft lip. At one point she used her finger to pull up the corner of her mouth to make fun of the way Phoenix’s lip turns up.

“He’s got that good nose that dips way down and he’s happy with, so am I. I find it to be very attractive. 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,” she said, her audience breaking out into laughter.

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. Because this condition can lead to problems speaking and eating, it is usually corrected early on with surgery.

Joaquin Phoenix poses on the red carpet.
Featured image credit: Kevin WinterGetty Images

This condition can unfortunately lead to a child getting bullied because they look different, as one Twitter user pointed out in an angry post.

“The gesture she makes with her fingers to her mouth is one I encountered many times as a child being bullied for my cleft and even today I shudder when I see this. Horrific and inexcusable.”

Another Twitter user spoke out against the video, sharing that her now nearly 18-year-old son has had to endure countless surgeries throughout the years to correct the cleft lip he was born with. The experience was traumatizing not only for him but for his family members, leaving him with both physical and emotional scars.

“Scars that do not heal. This video is horrible,” she tweeted regarding Williams’ segment about Phoenix.

Williams has not yet responded to the backlash she’s received for her controversial comments or gestures. This is not the first time she’s come under fire for controversial comments recently, however.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, last month she offended Madonna and Madonna’s fans when she criticized the singer for getting cozy with a much younger man, even calling her a “grandma.”