Viewers left furious after Wendy Williams mocks Joaquin Phoenix's cleft lip
As we get further and further into awards season, you'd think there would be nothing but praise for Joker star Joaquin Phoenix.
In the last two weeks, the 45-year-old star has taken home the Best Actor awards at both the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards for his role as Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime in the 2019 movie Joker. And with BAFTAs and Academy Award nominations confirmed, this should be the golden era in Phoenix's career.
However, his victories have been somewhat shrouded in controversy.
At the Golden Globes, singer Beyoncé was slated on Twitter for refusing to get out of her chair as the entire room gave Phoenix a standing ovation after being announced as the winner for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama).
You can see that controversial moment below:
Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to call out the 'Sweet Dreams' singer for her "rude" gesture:
As a result of the backlash, that moment became a 'Hot Topic' for Wendy Williams to discuss on her magazine show, The Wendy Williams Show.
But while discussing the actor and admitting she finds him "oddly attractive", viewers were left furious when Williams used her finger to imitate a cleft lip.
Watch Williams simulate Phoenix's cleft lip below:
Now, in case you were unaware, one of Joaquin's most distinctive features is his scar on his upper lip. This is the result of Phoenix being born with a microform cleft, the mildest form of cleft lip. He revealed to Vanity Fair that he was simply born with the mark, and never underwent surgery.
Shortly after the segment aired, viewers flocked to Twitter to express their outrage at Williams and her insensitive actions.
Twitter user Matt Groark wrote: "For a solid 10 seconds she used her finger to mimic a cleft lip while the audience laughed. Imagine how my 5 year old would take it if he saw it?"
And mom Adriane wrote: "@WendyWilliams my daughter was born with a CLEFTLIP I pray daily that she is able to grow up knowing how beautiful god made her without having to hear comments from uneducated people like you I [pray you] educate yourself and make an apology to the people you hurt"
One viewer has even started an online petition to get Williams fired from her role. Writing on the Change.org petition, Corey Perry writes:
"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.
"Kids can be cruel and as a mother of an amazing little guy who was born with complete bilateral cleft lip, hard and soft palate, 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 hours spent worrying about the hard times ahead for him, all the days spent in the hospital and the numerous surgeries he had to go through, the blood, the pain, the day to day activities that he had to miss because of feeding tubes that he needed to be able to get liquids to his stomach instead of his lungs (complications brought on by the hard and soft cleft palate called silent aspiration). His little lungs so scared up From lung infections due to this silent aspiration. And that is only a few of the complications that can come with a cleft.
"What I am saying is that she is a disgusting human being and in my opinion, if Don Cherry got fired for saying 'you people' than she should be banned from daytime TV."