Controversial talk show host Wendy Williams recently came under fire for making fun of people with cleft lip palates. Her comments were directed towards actor Joaquin Phoenix, who has a facial scar from when his own cleft lip was corrected through surgery. After her remarks, tens of thousands of people signed a petition to get her fired, according to The Grio.
When discussing Phoenix’s scar, which Williams said she found “oddly attractive,” she made some comments that were later deemed to be insensitive to the entire cleft lip community. This involved her using her finger to raise up her lip to imitate how the mouths turn up in those who have this condition.
“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,” she said, her audience bursting into laughter as she pulled her lip up.
Viewers stormed social media with angry comments regarding Williams’ behavior, pointing out that this condition can be traumatizing for kids born with it as well as their families. It can even lead to bullying as the child gets older.
Corey Perry was the furious viewer who started a petition on Change.org in an effort to get Williams fired. Corey has a friend who is the mother of a little boy born with a cleft lip palate and thus knows the challenges that come along with it.
“So this ignorant piece of work decided to mock Joaquin Phoenix and his ‘hare lip, cleft lip palate’ on daytime television and even went as far as pulling her upper lip with her finger, she is a total disgrace,” the description of the petition reads.
She went on to point out that cleft lip palate is a condition that one is born with and there’s nothing to do to prevent it. It occurs when the mouth of a baby doesn’t develop fully in the womb, leading to the child being born with a slit in the lip and the roof of the mouth.
“I am completely disgusted that she thinks it’s ok to ridicule and make a joke out of something that is completely out of our control,” the petition continues.
The petition obviously gained a lot of traction and currently sits at over 50,000 signatures as of Saturday, with more continuing to roll in. As The Inquisitr previously reported, Williams has since apologized and has donated money to two different associations that work to help correct cleft lips.