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Wendy Williams Apologizes For Mocking Joaquin Phoenix's Cleft Palate Amid Backlash

Lasandra RuffLasandra Ruff

Wendy Williams received some serious backlash this week for some comments she made about recent Golden-Globe-winner Joaquin Phoenix. During the Hot Topics segment of The Wendy Williams Show, the controversial TV host was describing how she finds Joaquin “oddly attractive” after defending Beyoncé for not standing up when he won for “Best Actor” at the award show. Wendy was describing his physical features, which resulted in a joke at his expense about his cleft palate scar. “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 told the audience. She then proceeded to hook her finger over her top lip in order to imitate the birth defect. Watch the clip below (11:14).

Wendy was criticized by many activists and celebrities for her insensitive comments about people with cleft palates. British TV personality and ambassador for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, tweeted that she was “disgusted” by Wendy and called her joke “disgraceful.”

Pop icon, Cher, also took to Twitter to express her outrage, speaking about the pain children go through who are afflicted by the condition.

Canadian football player Adam Bighill, whose baby boy Beau just underwent cleft palate repair surgery, joined the ranks of those upset about Wendy’s comments, claiming that they “clearly promote bullying.”

After hearing the public’s reactions, Wendy issued an apology, speaking directly to Adam on Twitter about his son and revealing that she’d made donations to cleft palate organizations. Adam forgave Wendy and expressed his gratitude for her acts of generosity.

 However, Cher did not buy the apology, and remained infuriated at Wendy’s actions.

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