Wendy Williams mocked Joaquin Phoenix’s beautiful upper-lip scar

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Joaquin Phoenix has a beautiful cleft scar, on the left side above his upper lip. When he was younger, the scar saved his face from being too beautiful, and now that he’s middle-aged, the scar gives his face character. Honestly, I’ve always thought the scar adds dimension to his characters, never more so than in Gladiator. The scar was 100% perfect in that movie. My point is that I can and will criticize Joaquin for a lot of things (working with Woody Allen, the film I’m Still Here), but his scar is blameless and actually quite lovely. But Wendy Williams decided to make Joaquin’s scar into a thing. So stupid.

Wendy Williams is under fire for mocking Joaquin Phoenix. On Tuesday, The Wendy Williams Show host made an insensitive comment about a scar the Joker actor has above his lip during the “Hot Topics” segment of her show. “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, pulling her lip up to further mock the condition.

While Phoenix has never publicly addressed the origin of his scar, the Golden Globe winner did describe it as “not a surgically fixed cleft” but a “nonsurgical scar he was born with” in a 2019 interview with Vanity Fair.

Shortly after the show, Williams received backlash from upset viewers. Among them was Cher, who has been an ally for the cleft palate community. “THESE ARE THE PPL @WendyWilliams IS MAKING FUN OF,” she tweeted, replying to a tweet that featured images of the “Believe” singer meeting with cleft palette sufferers. She continued, “Joaquin Phoenix was a Child,& We Don’t Know What He Had To Go Through. HE IS ONE OF THE GREAT ACTORS OF OUR TIME,MAGNETIC,& MORE THAN HANDSOME!! SHE WILL BE JUDGED FOR THIS FOREVER.”

Her comments also caught the attention of Canadian football player Adam Bighill, whose baby boy Beau just underwent cleft palate repair surgery, and said her comment “clearly promotes bullying.”

Williams then issued an apology. “We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery,” she wrote on Twitter. “I want to apologize to the cleft community and in Beau’s honor, our show is donating to @operationsmile and @AmerCleftPalate and encourage our Wendy Watchers to learn more and help support the cleft community.”

[From E! News]

I wonder what goes through Wendy Williams’ mind sometimes. I get why she’s still on the air – she had legit tea – but she often crosses these kinds of lines. Even if Joaquin truly had a cleft palate issue as a baby (which he says he did not), why would you even make fun of that or mock it in any way? At least some good organizations got some donations, I guess.

Joaquin Phoenix poses in the press room at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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87 Responses to “Wendy Williams mocked Joaquin Phoenix’s beautiful upper-lip scar”

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  1. vanna says:

    OMG I never noticed his scar before.

  2. not so gullible says:

    I find her awful…

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      Very uncool!

    • zotsioltar says:

      I dont get why she gets so much attention. On her best day she is maaaaaaaaaaybe d-list.

      • Green Desert says:

        Exactly. Every time I see a Wendy Williams story I wonder why the f*ck people are talking about her.

      • Sass says:

        Yes thank you. She’s always tried to be some weird hybrid of Tyra, Oprah, and Maury and it’s not good. Plus she’s just flat out mean. I’ve seen celebrities come to her show and yell at her because of how much of an utter C word she is. And I haven’t watched her show since 2008, when I was in a waiting room and it was the channel left on the tv.

    • FHMom says:

      She’s a horrible person. Every once in a while I feel sorry for her like when she gets mocked for how she looks in a bathing suit or for her crappy husband, but then she does something like this to remind me that she is awful.

      • Some chick says:

        She is legit awful. Over and over and over. This is my last (& I think first too!) comment on a WW story.

    • minx says:

      She’s mean and bitter, and she has no room to talk about someone else’s looks.

      • Lady D says:

        Bitter in epic proportions. I felt for her when she was separating from her abusive ex, I was glad she got away from him, but she really is one of the most obnoxious and flat out ignorant bullies on the air.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      I find her awful, too–Just a generalized awfulness.

  3. ChillyWilly says:

    “I wonder what goes through Wendy Williams’ mind sometimes.”
    Drugs. Drugs are what goes through Wendy’s mind. What a nasty and ignorant thing to do. She sucks.

    • Chanteloup says:

      EXACTLY. Go away, Wendy, you pathetic waste of space trying to attack others to make yourself look better {IT’S NOT WORKING}

  4. Flamingo says:

    In college, I watched Wendy daily. At the time she was kind of snarky funny. I haven’t tuned in for years but from the clips I’ve seen here and there she just seems bitter and mean now. I know she had a lot of stuff go on in her personal life, but she needed to take time off and go to a yoga retreat or something and not let her nastiness spill over into her work.

    • Cindy says:

      Same, I don’t know if I outgrew Wendy’s schtick or if she just got worse. I just remember one day I was watching and she was talking about Nicki Minaj. I don’t even remember exactly what she was saying but she just sounded so… bitter. I hate slapping the “jealous” label on women who criticize other women, but that’s what it came across. And I wondered “why am I listening to this woman’s bitter and jealous rants about women more accomplished than her?”

      All I’ll say is I’m not surprised this came from her, but at least she apologized instead of telling everyone to get over it.

  5. spiffypaws says:

    He’s gorgeous, scar doesn’t matter. What a dumb B!

  6. Mignionette says:

    What was Wendy thinking. A cleft palate is a congenital issue and it’s a big no no to mock that kind of facial feature.

    Joachim (aka Leaf) is lucky enough to access medical treatment for his but in some parts of the world the stigma that goes with cleft palate issues literally destroys lives. I hope she apologises.

    On another note does anyone know is Joachim has ever worked with any cleft palate charities, he’d be a good ambassador.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      He would be a good ambassador but according to his VF piece he denies having ever had cleft lip/palate.He said it’s a *birthmark*,he actually said his mother told him that during her pregnancy with him she felt a sharp pain one day and he was born with that scar…

      That seems a fitting story for him to tell,pretty cool really as I think his scar is spectacular especially against those fantastic eyes…Makes him more even more attractive IMO.

      So IDK if he would be the best ambassador since he doesn’t really have that condition.

      Love him either way,can’t help myself,he’s a year older than me so I remember him from my childhood,he seems so much more settled now.Good for him,and Wendy made an @ of herself,she speaks before thinking,ugh.

      • Celina says:

        From what he describes, it’s referred to as a microform. Kind of an “almost” cleft, if that makes sense so it wouldn’t need surgery. My family is affected by bilateral clefts. WW is incredibly unkind.

    • Skittlebrau says:

      He likely has what’s called a microform cleft lip, where the cleft is very minor and results in that scarring at birth without an open cleft and requires no surgery or further treatment.

  7. Middle of the road says:

    Can we talk about her bug eyes and how she looks like they’ll pop out any minute? Yeah it’s not nice because I know she has hyperthyroidism and that’s a symptom. But then again if she can make fun of people who suffer from or suffered from medical conditions then the same could be said about her.

    • mercury says:

      So youre basically doing what she’s doing then? Making fun of someone’s appearance?

      • Ann says:

        Middle of the road is stating what many of us are thinking. I took it as that nobody should be making fun of other people’s looks, because just about all of us, or all of us, have no room to talk.

  8. Mimi says:

    He lies a lot and seems like a weirdo to me even though he’s celebrated so I cannot say if it’s not a cleft palate surgery


    They say, when we reincarnate we have marks on our body from our previous life or death.

  9. Clsarah says:

    Looks like a partial cleft to me…my 8 y.o. nephew has the same scar he was born with. Basically it started forming in utero but never progressed to the point that surgery would be needed. No matter the cause Wendy Williams is an ass for mocking him.

  10. Emmet says:

    Has she filed for divorce yet?

  11. Jerusha says:

    Good for Cher for chiming in. She always stands up for what’s right. And she loathes 🍊💩 as much as we do.

  12. Chaine says:

    She seems like a truly toxic person. I know there was some mild sympathy the other year when it came out that her hubs had cheated on her but c’ on, if she is this unpleasant on the public stage can you even imagine what she must be like in private?

  13. lucy2 says:

    Why on earth would you mock a scar, whether one is born with it or not?

  14. T says:

    My nephew was born with a very similar scar as Joaquin. They theorized that he had cleft issues as a fetus but they resolved before birth. It bothered his parents when he was first born but they decided to not surgically remove the scar. He, like Joaquin, is quite attractive with the scar being fairly minimal and only adds character to his face. My son was born with an open cleft palate. If I were near Wendy when she spoke about this I’d have smacked her. Palate repair is incredibly fragile surgery and it’s very painful for the recipient. Wendy is an ass.

  15. Kimmie says:

    I agree with everyone that says she’s nasty for even making his scar into a talking point. She’s the last person to snark on anyone for how they look because her life is a giant dumpster fire. But, can we talk about that apology? How many people will come right out and say “I’m sorry for what I said/did. Here’s a donation to the group/cause I offended.” No one we’ve read about on here in awhile. All we get are non-apologies from celebs, blame shifting or outright gaslighting.

    • Larelyn says:

      While i was pleasantly surprised with the apology, let’s be real. That wasn’t her writing. That was likely from a PR manager on her team. I would believe she is 100% sincere if she released a clip saying the same.

  16. girl_ninja says:

    She spews so much vile garbage. But people watch her so…

  17. vertes says:

    Years ago, JP said it was from cleft palate surgery. He can change his story or not. Doesn’t matter. I certainly don’t find it “beautiful” but it isn’t unpleasant either. Tom Burke & Stacy Keach have cp repair scars too, Ellen Pompeo & Tina Fey have facial scars. So what?
    Wendy isn’t nice or talented imo & I’d rather have a cp scar than Wendy’s personality.

  18. Allie says:

    This scar originates from a cleft, be it a fixed one or one that has not been fully formed. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s called nature and things like that happen.

  19. Veronica S says:

    That was pretty thoughtless. Cleft palate is fairly common as far as genetic deformities go, and for the most part, is a minor surgery (outside of more serious cases). It’s rarely an issue unless you live in an area without medical access – and lots of people do. The whole point of Operation Smiley was to remedy that issue. Lots of people walking around with those scars.

  20. Toot says:

    Can’t stand Wendy and had not one once of sympathy for her when her situation with her ex was happening.

  21. mk says:

    Wendy who? That lady I stopped watching when she “slammed” Meghan Markle for no reason?

  22. smcollins says:

    I’ve never watched her show but from what I’ve read about her she sounds like a pretty awful & petty person. She seems like the type of person who loves attention, good or bad, just as long as she has it.
    I agree his scar gives his face more character but I think his eyes are his most striking feature, especially with his dark hair and thick brows. Gorgeous.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Until I saw these photos, I never realized how absolutely gorgeous his eyes were. You could stare at them all day.

  23. emmy says:

    Why do people insist on being such d*cks? Just leave his face alone.

    My dad is old and due to illness not always that sharp anymore. The one thing I never let slide is him commenting negatively on people’s looks. Just leave people alone with that sh*t, you never know what goes on with someone.

  24. MrsPanda says:

    Wendy’s an insensitive jerk but I was watching this segment and she was drooling over him, saying how hot he was and that the scar made him even hotter/more rugged. She’s always shady though and definitely goes too far sometimes.

  25. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I wonder why he doesn’t like appearances.

  26. kerwood says:

    I find scars compelling and beautiful because there’s always a story behind them. I have a scar that’s the result of a tragic and traumatic incident in my childhood. It’s shrunk and faded but I still feel it. I can still feel the stitches. I grew up with people asking insensitive questions about my scar. When I told them what happened they were usually embarrassed but it was too late then.

    I always figured that Phoenix had been born with some kind of a cleft palate. Even though he’s never been a favourite of mine, the scar made him more interesting to me.

    Wendy Williams is an ignorant woman. There are a lot of them out there.

    • Lady D says:

      When I was about two, I was kneeling on the kitchen table with my baby brother between my knees. My mom was five steps away grabbing a diaper when he started to cry. She come at me screaming, I only remember feeling terrified. When I came to, I was on the floor with my head between her knees and she was threading a needle. She moved the needle and it caught the light. That flash of light felt like I was being stabbed through the eye with a flaming sword. That’s all I remember, but I too have a visible scar on my face. Part of the reason for my long hair. I was only ever asked once what had happened and turns out I needed psychiatric help to realize I didn’t have to keep any secrets any more. I find it strange I remember that so bright flash of light from the needle so well. Even now I can close my eyes and see it.
      I hate that you had to go through such trauma so young, kerwood, nobody deserves that kind of treatment. I’d like to say your bad memories fade, (they don’t,) but it’s hard when you wear the reminder, but hopefully you will think about them less. You’re probably a very kind and loving person, aren’t you?

      • kerwood says:

        What a vivid and awful memory. That’s a heavy burden to carry. I was especially struck by your image of the needle looking like a sword. That’s how small children process things.

        I don’t know if suffering trauma makes you a better person. My scar is a mark of incredible loss. My mother was concerned that having a scar took away from my ‘beauty’. I also think it was a painful reminder for her. But I didn’t want it covered up because I knew that the scar on my outside wasn’t as big as the one inside. As I grew up I learned that in a lot of ways, my scar MADE me beautiful because it was sign of what I had experienced, that life had left it’s mark on me and I had come through.

        It’s a shame that Wendy Williams can’t see Phoenix’ scar and not marvel at how he managed to become such a well-respected actor in an industry that places so much value on perfection. Maybe that’s why she’s so unhappy.

  27. Chanteloup says:

    If the day ever comes I give a single F what Wendy Williams says, I’ll let you know.

    She’s a giant dumpster of patheticness. [This is just further evidence.]

  28. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Wendy Williams is trash and always has been. This is the woman who talked s*it about Meghan Markle stating that “no one feels sorry for you”. And this was after her OWN public issues and divorce. You would THINK going through a public crisis would make her more empathetic but nope. She’s STILL garbage. And that’s why I have ZERO sympathy for what went on with her husband. The woman has made a career of being cruel and mean-spirited.

    There are VALID things to criticize about Joaquin Phoenix. Like his complicity and possible involvement in what went on between Casey Affleck and the women who worked on their film. His cleft lip isn’t one of them.

  29. royallyobsessed says:

    For some reason, that last picture is giving me old-ish Prince Phillip vibes. Maybe he should be on the Crown later?

  30. Angie says:

    Oh that pisses me off. My sister has a cleft palate. What an ignorant asshole. I get that people make mistakes and say dumb things but no, no, and no on this. But whatever asshole. My sister is one of the most beautiful people in the world. Inside and out. Which is more than I can say for someone who makes fun of a persons facial scars.

  31. Heather says:

    He is a beautiful man, and the scar is part of his character. I can’t imagine him without it!

    Wendy Williams is completely unbalanced at the best of times. I’d ‘cancel’ her, but I did that a long time ago.
    You know you’ve crossed a line when you piss Cher off!

  32. Amelie says:

    I never noticed he even had a scar until Wendy Williams pointed it out. It’s not that noticeable to me.

  33. IntheKnow says:

    Someone should start making fun of her bugs caused by her over active thyroid. She’s a vile person.

  34. I am the Aunt to a beautiful niece who was born with a cleft lip and palate and had NUMEROUS surgeries before her 2nd birthday. A facial feature is not something to mock and it is disgusting that Wendy Williams used this for her sad TV show fodder.

  35. Lonnie tinks says:

    I’ve always thought cleft lip scars were sexy. Joaquin is a whole snack.

  36. Cee says:

    I have a similar scar right over my cupid’s bow. It’s not as noticeable as his, though. I was also born with it. Perhaps something to do with delivery?

  37. Normades says:

    It’s always added to his hotness especially in Gladiator/walk the line. Even now in middle age I so would.

  38. Lisabella says:

    Do WE make fun of Wendy Williams BUG EYES due to her THYROID PROBLEM?!? NO!!!

  39. tealily says:

    F*ck Wendy Williams. I love his scar. As you say, it saved him from being too beautiful. I don’t even notice it anymore, only in the dimension it adds to his face.

  40. Steph says:

    I saw the segment. She was not mocking him at all. She used words and actions to describe a cleft lip.

    • Kimberly says:

      thank you for the insight. I first had a torch all lit up to go after wendy, now I will YouTube the hot topics and see for myself. Context and intentions are important. my mom had half her face burned as a child and grew up with girls calling her scarface… like I wouldnot punch them in the face….me and my sisters did….only took a couple girls getting hit in the face…

      • Joanna says:

        Yeah, I watched the video and to me, she was not making fun of it. I think everyone needs to watch the video.

  41. Bunny says:

    She makes it her business to trash people for their bodies, their problems, their issues. She adds no light, no love, nothing of value.

    She’s not clever enough to be a “mean girl”.

    She’s simply trash.

  42. JulieO says:

    Oh my gosh, whether she meant to mock or not, this is so sad, for all the kids who constantly get bullied for their cleft lips and facial scars. It will make it worse. So many of the families that deal with this have started a petition online, “Get Wendy Williams Fired.”
    She has no idea how harmful her actions are.

  43. Well-Wisher says:

    I fail to see how it affects his work. Since it does not Wendy Williams should shut up. Due to need, organizations have to accept donations, but it would’ve been nice to return her donation. One should not be allowed to buy oneself out of bullying.

  44. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Externalizing her own misery by transferring it to someone else.

  45. Joanna says:

    Have you guys watched the video? I did and I didn’t think she was making fun of him.

  46. SJR says:

    Wendy Williams can kiss my ass!
    Bullying someone about a physical issue is always wrong!
    In this current culture people are finally speaking up in support of others, so for her to take a cheap, mean shot at anyone is unacceptable behavior.
    Physical problems or disabilities have a lasting effect on people including family members and primary caregivers. How cruel and rude to behave this way!
    Ms. Williams herself has had much plastic surgery and has also had many personal problems in the last few years. Bullying and verbal abuse is wrong, wrong, wrong.
    If she had made a racist remake the entire internet would be on her ass for it, this is no different.
    Wendy Williams best apologize at once. Btw, I would not be surprised to learn she did this for publicity. No talent, no class.

  47. Jillybean says:

    He’s awful – I can’t feel any sympathy for that creep regardless

  48. so says:

    Joke’s on you Wendy, his scar is only making him more sexy.

  49. TTS says:

    As a mother of a child who grew up with a corrected unilateral cleft lip and palate I can honestly say I was sickened to my stomachs by Wendy Williams comments and actions. She should be fired. All I could think of was the horrific teasing that my child went through. My heart aches for any child who might have seen the show who also has one. It’s bad enough having children bully other children but a grown adult is disgusting. The only adults who are ok with her behavior must be bullies themselves.