On the post-Golden Globes episode of the Wendy Williams Show (which aired January 7), the host told her audience that she was strangely attracted to Phoenix.
"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 said, then went on to simulate the birth defect by pushing her own lip up with her finger.
The action generated plenty of backlash online, including repeated requests for an apology from Winnipeg Bluebombers football player Adam Bighill.
Day 3— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) January 12, 2020
We are still waiting for a @WendyWilliams apology to the cleft community.
Outside of that, seeing everyone come together on social media to rally around her comments and actions has been truly amazing.
It's clear we are making progress towards being able to #endbullying pic.twitter.com/lIXUa5i1vs
Bighill's own son was recently born with a cleft lip and underwent surgery to repair it yesterday (January 15).
Today is Beau's big day. He is getting his lip repaired today in Winnipeg by the fantastic Dr. Ross. Thanks to everyone who has reached out, and in advance, thanks for any of your well wishes for Beau. He is so loved! #cleftstrong #1in700 #cleftcutie pic.twitter.com/n3MxaLvl5f— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) January 15, 2020
Williams has since reached out to Bighill, apologizing and wishing his son Beau well. She also pledged to donate to two organizations that support children born with cleft lips and palates on behalf of The Wendy Williams Show.
. @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.— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) January 16, 2020
Bighill has since accepted Williams's apology and forgiven the TV host.
Thank you @WendyWilliams for your apology, your donation, and for thinking of Beau today for his surgery. I forgive you, and I encourage others to as well. I wish you all the best. https://t.co/JmYnRb8C8t— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) January 16, 2020