16/01/2020 09:12 GMT

Wendy Williams Apologises To 'The Cleft Community' After Comments About Joaquin Phoenix's Facial Scar

The presenter has apologised after mocking the Joker actor's scar during an episode of her US talk show.

US talk show host Wendy Williams has issued an apology to the “cleft community” after comments she made about Joaquin Phoenix’s facial scar.

During a recent broadcast of her show, Wendy discussed Joaquin’s recent success in awards season, following his controversial performance in Joker.

Wendy described the Oscar-nominated actor as “oddly attractive”, pointing out what she incorrectly described as a “hairline fracture” scar.

“He’s got one of those, what do you call it? Cleft lip, cleft palate,” she told the studio audience. “I find it to be very attractive.”

Joaquin Phoenix

She then hooked her finger under her top lip to demonstrate her point, in a move which drew criticism, including from Canadian sportsman Adam Bighill.

Both Adam and his son Beau were born with a cleft lip, with the American football star describing Wendy’s behaviour as “hideous and offensive”.

Manny Carabel via Getty Images
Wendy Williams

In response to this, an apology was posted on Wendy’s Twitter page, along with a message revealing her show had made a donation to two organisations which help those with the birth defect.

We’re thinking about Beau today as he is in surgery,” the tweet – addressed directly to Adam – read.

“I want to apologise 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.” 

In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, Joaquin revealed his scar was not the result of surgery, but rather one he was born with.

This week, it was revealed he’d been nominated for an Academy Award for the fourth time, for his role in Todd Phillips’ Joker.

The film received the most nominations of any film this year, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Score.