Donating to a good cause should, in theory, be pretty easy. You decide on an amount and an organization, and you’re all set, right?
Not if you’re a celebrity. The recent wildfires that have devastated parts of Australia have started a widespread conversation about celebrity donations. Many people feel that if a celebrity publicly announces a donation and an amount that the public has a right to comment. While many of those comments are ones of appreciation, there are some who are critical of the dollar amounts celebs decide to donate.
Wendy Williams discussed the matter on her Tuesday “Hot Topics” segment.
The conversation began with discussing how members of the Kardashian-Jenner family were being slammed online for not announcing a donation to the wildfire relief. Later, she admitted to struggling not to judge Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban for the amount of their donation, which was $500,000. As the segment progressed, Wendy argued both sides of the story but still seemed pretty critical when all was said and done.
Wendy Williams prides herself in saying it like she means it. It’s for that reason that it’s a little surprising the way she approached a conversation about celebrity donations to Australian wildfire relief. The conversation was part of Tuesday’s “Hot Topics” segment.
During the segment, Wendy noted that the public has become too critical of certain celebrity matters, using the donations as an example. She spoke about how it wasn’t right for people to criticize the Kardashians for not announcing any donations because they are known to be generous with their fortune.
“These girls aren’t even Australian, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t donate,” Wendy noted. “I’m just saying, the Urbans are Australian, OK? There’s a Keith and a Nicole, and they’re both Australian, right?”
“I found myself judging the amount of money that they donated to Australia for these wildfires,” Wendy admitted. She went on to explain how much area the fires have affected. “So you got two Australians, the Keith and the Nicole, and they donated $500,000.”
“OK, that would be 250 apiece?” Wendy said. That’s when someone in her audience yelled out, “That’s it?”
“That’s what I said. That’s it?” Wendy called back. “That’s it?”
“These are your people. These are your countrymen, and that’s all you do?” Wendy continued. “And then I found myself acting like you all and saying, ‘Oh wait let me pull pack and stop counting their money. Let me pull back.'”
Wendy reiterated that the criticism was unfair, but she still pressed on.
“Any penny is something … although there were non-Australian people who donated a million dollars,” she noted. She went on to cite Miley Cyrus and Pink as two examples.
Wendy’s citation was actually incorrect. While Miley did donate $1 million, Pink also donated $500,000. She referred to the amount when announcing her donation online.
“I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires. I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz.”
Nicole and Keith were visibly upset by the situation in Australia during their last public appearance at the Golden Globes. At the Gold Meets Golden event the evening before, Nicole reportedly cried while acknowledging the couple’s country home was at risk. She later told reporters, “I’m so sorry; I’m so distracted by what’s happening in Australia.”
As for Wendy, Tuesday’s show was where the talk show host made another comment she’s being slammed for. Critics were unhappy with comments Wendy made about Joaquin Phoenix’s lip during her discussion of the actor at the Golden Globes. She was discussing how she found the actor “oddly attractive.”
“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,” Wendy said. Then she pulled her top lip up over her teeth mocking the appearance of the condition.
Joaquin has spoken about the scar before. In a recent Vanity Fair article, he described it as “not a surgically fixed cleft.” Rather, he says it is a “nonsurgical scar he was born with.” Allies of those with the condition think Wendy’s actions were inexcusable.
One of the celebrities who spoke out against Wendy was Cher, who tweeted about the insensitive comment. After sharing photos of those she’s met with cleft palates over the years, she wrote, “THESE ARE THE PPL @WendyWilliams IS MAKING FUN OF.” She went on to slam the talk show host’s comments over a series of tweets.
Wendy later issued an apology. She also announced that she would be donating to Operation Smile and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. She vowed to learn more about the subject and educate her viewers so that they may be better allies to the community.