Wendy Williams Apologizes for Mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s Scar

YouTube | The Wendy Williams Show

Wendy Williams is not known for being polite, discrete, or at all politically correct when it comes to her feelings. She has gotten in trouble on her show multiple times for being too aggressive and assertive.

Now, she’s done it again. No one seems happy with her comment this week about Joaquin Phoenix.

When talking about his win at the Golden Globe Awards, she said he is “oddly attractive,” and proceeded to pull her top lip up to mock his facial scar while saying his “cleft palate” is appealing to her.

a still from the wendy williams show clipped to just show her lifting her lip to mock joaquin phoenixs lip
YouTube | The Wendy Williams Show

There is a lot wrong with this statement, so let’s break it down, shall we?

Williams Mocked Phoenix’s “Cleft Lip”

While the show itself aired last week, it was apparently taped January 7, just a day after the Golden Globes. Joaquin Phoenix (whose name I literally just learned to pronounce this weekend… why has no one ever corrected me?!) won Best Actor in a Drama for his role in “Joker,” which is no surprise; it’s really sweeping awards this season.

Beyoncé was one of the only people who didn’t stand up when he accepted his awards, and many people were wondering if it was an intentional snub. Does Bey have a problem with Phoenix, or is she against the movie? A lot of theories are going around.

Williams defended Beyoncé (because obviously she needs defending by Wendy Williams…) and said that it was a long night, everyone was getting up and down, and that it was fine for Queen Bey to simply smile and clap. “That should be enough,” Williams said.

She continued to note that in Beyoncé’s universe, “Who is Joaquin Phoenix?”

Then she goes off the rails a little bit, talking about how Phoenix is “oddly attractive,” with the “good nose” that comes all the way down “like he’s happy with it.”

“When he shaves his mustache he has a hairline fracture,” Williams said. “He’s got one of those… what do you call it? Cleft lip, cleft palate.”

In case no one knew about the small scar on the top of Phoenix’s lip she was referencing, Wendy then peeled back her top lip to demonstrate.

a still from the wendy williams show where she is lifting her lip to mock joaquin phoenixs lip scar
YouTube | The Wendy Williams Show

As if that was a normal thing to do.

What Is Joaquin Phoenix’s Scar From?

Everyone believes that Phoenix really did have a cleft palate as a child, and the scar on his lip is from surgery to fix the issue. Phoenix, however, has disputed this in the past.

Instead, he says that the distinct scar on the top of his lip has been there since he was a child.

In Wendy’s defense (not really), Phoenix’s scar is very distinct, and yes, he is an attractive man. But anyone with half a brain would know better than to do and say something like that, especially on television. How is her show even still on the air?

Wendy Williams Apologizes… Sort Of?

The internet was not happy when this clip went viral, and thousands of users took to social media to complain about her openly mocking Phoenix and those with facial deformities.

Canadian football player Adam Bighill (yeah, I’ve never heard of him either, it’s okay) got wind of the story and shared how he felt Williams was clearly promoting “bullying” on her show. Bighill’s son Beau just underwent surgery for his own cleft palate.

Williams shared on Twitter that she is “thinking of Beau” as he undergoes surgery and that she wants to “apologize to the cleft community” for her words. The show itself donated money to both Operation Smile and Amer Cleft Palate, which is nice.

Bighill was the bigger man and said that he appreciated, and accepted, Williams apology.

Cher had a different tactic on Twitter, posting a side by side of her and Phoenix.

However you cut it, Williams has a tendency to not think before she speaks, and she certainly doesn’t consider anyone else when she does. Personally, I’m impressed her show is still on the air – and I can’t be the only one.

Here’s the full episode from their YouTube page if you really, really want to watch Williams mock Phoenix. Skip to around 9:30 if you can’t stomach listening to her speak for too long, and she should be ranting about Bey. Her Phoenix comments specifically start around the 9:40 mark.