A Change.org petition is calling for the firing of Wendy Williams following her controversial statements about Joaquin Phoenix's physical appearance, during which she seemingly mocked those with cleft lips and palates. Created by an outraged viewer shortly after the Jan. 7 Hot Topics segment of The Wendy Williams Show, the petition calls for Williams to "be banned from daytime TV" and has already been signed by tens of thousands of people.
"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," Perry shared a post made by his friends, whose son has a bilateral cleft lip. "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)," the petition continues. "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," it concludes.
With almost 65,000 signatures of its 75,000 goal, many people feel that Williams' comments were "disgusting" and warrant her removal.
"What she did was so wrong and she should be held accountable for her actions," wrote one person.
"This woman shouldn't be allowed a public forum where she can demean or belittle people like she does," commented another. "I wonder how many children with this issue saw her remarks and felt inadequate as a result. No one should be allowed to broadcast this type of behavior on national television. Simply distasteful and revolting."
"She is an embarrassment to her network!" added a third. "She should be using her platform to promote good in people not teaching young viewers to bully those that are different than themselves! Shame on her."
Williams has since apologized for the comments, revealing on Twitter that The Wendy Williams Show donated to both Operation Smile and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association while also encouraging viewers of the series "to learn more and help support the cleft community."