I am not a snowflake*.
*Derogatory definition of a sensitive person: overly sensitive or easily offended person, or one who believes they are entitled to special treatment on account of their supposedly unique characteristics.
I am not one to tell someone off (to their face) if they say something offensive about me. I like raunchy comedy. I grew up listening to Howard Stern. I’m not a stranger to people doing or saying offensive things. Hello, our current president says hurtful things about everyone, including Latinx people, but that doesn’t make it okay. Yes, we’ve become so accustomed to hearing people be disrespectful that we, at times, gloss over it like it’s no big thing. So, while I may not curse someone out when they’re mean or offensive, I will speak out against it.
Just like Howard Stern was part of my pop culture atmosphere on the radio, Wendy Williams was like my TV tia. I’ve been watching her talk show, on and off, since I was a little kid. The Wendy Williams Show, now in its seventh season, is immensely popular, and her personality has everything to do with that.
For those not familiar with Williams, here’s a brief lowdown. She’s a pioneer in TV and radio, who made a name for herself in an industry dominated by men. For a woman of color, that is no easy feat. It’s because of her over-the-top personality and not being afraid of “keeping it real” that’s helped her garner so much success. One of her catchphrases, aside from “how you doing?” is “say it like you mean it.” She’s made a business out of having no filter. One of the most entertaining aspects of her show is the “Hot Topics” segments, in which she discusses the latest in celebrity gossip. She’ll talk about everything from Kim Kardashian’s butt to the latest cheating scandal. And while she’s gossiping and making light of other people’s woes, she will also discuss her own.
In 2017, during a Halloween segment, Williams fainted on live TV. She addressed it after a commercial break. “That was not a stunt. I overheated and did pass out, but I’m a champ, and I’m back,” she said. Between 2018 and 2019, the show went on several hiatuses. Something was up with Williams. When she finally returned last year in March, Williams addressed that she sought help from a previous addiction to cocaine. The following month she finally opened up about filing for divorce after gossip magazines disclosed that her then-husband had fathered a baby with another woman. Williams’ life was now its own “Hot Topic.”
While some have said that Williams’ tactic on her show has always been ruthless, mean, and offensive, I’ve seen it more aggressively since her return last year. Williams has always been forgetful about facts, awkward with some guests, tacky (burping, uncontrollably coughing). That is part of her charm. She’s like a tia who doesn’t give a f*ck. Lately, however, it’s gotten worse. In the same way, The View is sometimes hard to watch, Williams is becoming too unpredictable and in an offensive way. I won’t list every single time Williams has offended someone (list runs deep), but I will discuss a couple of recent incidents.
On January 7, after the Golden Globes, Williams discussed Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix and said he was “oddly attractive.” She went on to talk about his cleft palate.
“When he shaves off his mustache, he’s got a hairline fracture,” Williams said. “He’s got one of those, what do you call it, cleft lip, cleft palate.” Williams showed audiences how a cleft palate looks by trying to reshape her lips.
People were not thrilled about that and Canadian football player Adam Bighill called her out on social media for making fun of this facial deformity. What was shocking is seeing Williams apologize, something she rarely does. Williams addressed BigHill on Twitter, saying, “@Bighill44 We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery. 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.”
Fans of Williams run the gamut from suburban moms to celebs and everyone in between. But one of her most devoted group of followers is the LGBTQ community. Lately, Williams has gone after gay men with a spiteful tongue. On February 13, Williams was talking about Galentine’s Day, the made-up holiday in which women celebrate their female friendships before Valentine’s Day. While Williams said it was a fake holiday, she said men could not partake in Galentine’s Day at all.
“Well, first of all, if you’re a man and you’re clapping, you’re not even a part of this,” Williams said. “You don’t even understand the rules of the day. It’s women going out and getting saucy and then going back home. You’re not a part.”
“I don’t care if you’re gay,” Williams said. She also said that gay men don’t understand women’s issues because they don’t have a period. “You can do a lot that we do, but I get offended by the idea that we go through something you will never go through.” But she wasn’t done just yet. She finished by saying, “And stop wearing our skirts and our heels. Just sayin’ girls, what do we have for ourselves?”
People on Twitter did not take too kindly to her words.
“I say this as someone who once made a (very, very, very small) name for himself writing takedown pieces about celebs who said homophobic (and other stupid) sh–,” one person wrote on Twitter “— but @WendyWilliams is just a mess and really isn’t worth your rage and it’d be better spent on someone/thing worthier.”
Williams felt the wrath on that one too. She, surprisingly, issued another apology, this time saying that she didn’t mean any harm by saying what she did.
“I’ll start by saying I apologize. I did not mean to offend my LGBTQ+ community on yesterday’s show,” Wendy said in a video posted on Twitter. “I did not realize until I got home, and I watched the second running of our show here in New York, and I always watch when I can to critique my delivery or the cameras, the lights, the audience, the camera.” She added, “I’m very persnickety about how I do my show, and one thing that I can tell you right now is that I never do this show in a place of malice. I understand my platform with the community from first grade to intermediate school to high school to college to radio and now to TV. And I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings. I’m just having a conversation.”
This past week, Williams, in an awful attempt to be funny, made a cruel joke at the expense of a woman that was killed by an ex-lover. On February 15, Amie Harwick, a therapist, was first strangled and then thrown off her balcony by a former boyfriend. She died at the hospital from her injuries. A couple of days later, Williams discussed the story because comedian and Price Is Right host Drew Carey used to be engaged to her. Williams, while talking about it, said that Carey didn’t kill Harwick and then interjected by saying the Price Is Right tagline, “Come on down!” She then motioned with her head watching a body fall from the balcony to the floor. No one in the audience laughed. People even gasped and were in shock.
Ive seen a lot of coldhearted and insensitive shit, but this dials it up to eleven. Cancel #WendyWilliams show and give her her goddamn walking papers.#AmieHarwick deserved better than being murdered by that psycho and deserves far better than this wackjob's mockery https://t.co/dfIl4Yzdbz
— Captain Brian (@daflyondawall) February 18, 2020
Just this week, Williams also turned on her producer Suzanne Bass for merely doing her job (engaging the audience to clap). The following day, Williams didn’t apologize to Bass for yelling at her on TV but instead made excuses for doing so.
— ✝ ᴚ lǝqǝᴚ ♓ (@NOTrynaBRude) February 26, 2020
One aspect that has made Stern so much more exciting today is because he has shown growth as a human and has become more sensitive about topics and guests, and has also become more vulnerable. But Williams doesn’t seem as if she’s growing as a human at all. She’s like the insensitive tia that only seems to be getting worse as she gets older. Williams seems only to apologize because she knows that alienating her viewers will cost her the show. As much as I respect her as a groundbreaking talk show host, Williams has to realize the same way her offensive remarks might have propelled her career, they can also become her eventual downfall.