Wendy Williams is in trouble again, this time for her thoughts on HBCUs — Historically Black Colleges and Universities — which she volunteered while talking about Jesse Williams’ poignant speech at the BET Awards during Wednesday, July 6’s The Wendy Williams Show. “I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically Black colleges…. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP,” she said, to silence from her studio audience.
Needless to say, her comments were not well received, and fans quickly began dragging her on Twitter, criticizing her apparent distaste for HBCUs. After 24 hours of being taken to task on social media, Williams responded to the backlash on her Thursday show, claiming that her statements had been “misinterpreted.”
“Be very clear, I find nothing wrong with historically Black colleges…. My thought in my mind was, and what I said to you is, ‘How would I feel if I was applying to colleges and that they were historically white was part of the marquee?’” she said.
Williams went on to say that was “not a Stacey Dash” — as some critics were saying — and that she was “a very mighty, proud Black woman.”
This isn’t the first time Wendy Williams’ off-the-cuff comments have landed her in hot water. Check out the rest of this slideshow to see her most controversial statements.
She then went on to say that she questioned the validity of Kesha’s accusations because “she’s like, 30 years old or something” and because she didn’t have recorded proof of abuse. That’s right — Williams basically told the world that sexual assault isn’t sexual assault unless you have it on video. “When the sexual abuse — alleged sexual abuse — started, why weren’t they rolling camera on it?” she asked. “I mean, it’s so easy. Like, men are so stupid that if you’re sexually abusing us it’s so easy to catch you.”
Needless to say her comments were trashed as a prime example of victim blaming, and Williams apologized a few months later. Still, even in her apology, Williams said that “unfortunately, a lot of people lie about rape, so I was just being skeptical.” The belief that women consistently lie about rape is a serious problem that contributes to rape culture and helps sustain an environment in which victims of sexual abuse feel they cannot come forward. So, on the whole, Williams’ apology wasn’t really all that much better than her original statements — but at least she apologized?
In one of her more outrageous moments, Williams declared that Caitlyn Jenner was not a woman, despite her very public transition, because, as Williams said, she still has a “member.” Williams spoke about the state of Jenner’s womanhood when talking about the Cosmopolita cover featuring the Kardashian-Jenner women, which did not include Jenner. “It features all the Kardashian women. No, not Caitlyn. Caitlyn still has a member, so that is not a…” Williams said, pausing. She didn’t really finish her statement, but her intent was clear: to Williams, Caitlyn Jenner is not a woman.
As if that weren’t enough, Williams then turned to her audience, asking, “I mean until you don’t, aren’t you caught in limbo?” Williams’ statements demonstrated an astounding ignorance about transgender issues. Moreover, it also seems like Williams might benefit from a gender studies class.
When she tried to shame Alyssa Milano for breastfeeding
Williams had Alyssa Milano on her show in January of 2016 and the two got into a spirited debate on breastfeeding in public. Milano frequently posts photos of herself breastfeeding on social media, and has been outspoken about allowing mothers to breastfeed in public. Williams, however, is of a different mind. “I don’t need to see that. Because I just don’t want to,” Williams told Milano on her show.
Williams went on to say that, for her, breasts are “more sexual than a feeding thing,” adding, “I don’t know why I feel this way. …Breastfeeding is only a particular amount of time. The rest of your life, your breasts are sexual things.”
To Williams’ credit, she admitted that her awkward feelings towards breastfeeding were “[her] issue,” and she seemed to respect Milano’s more open approach.
Williams once stated that she could never “think of [Ariana] Grande as a woman” because she looked too young. Williams went on to say that Grande would “forever look 12.” Most of the time, if someone tells a woman that they appear younger than they are, it’s taken as a compliment, but Williams made clear that she did not intend to flatter Grande in any way. “And I don’t mean that in a good way. It’s nice to look younger than you are, but when you look too young and then you’re short… she’s only like 4’11,” Williams added.
OK, to admit that it’s hard to see Grande as a grown woman is one thing, but to double down and insist that you mean it as an insult adds a whole new layer of nastiness to the situation. Grande fans, known as Arianators, were not pleased. In fact, they were so upset by Williams’ body-shaming comments, they started the hashtag #CancelWendy. Considering this all took place in 2015, it’s clear the Twitter movement failed. But, hey, at least we learned not to mess with the Arianators.
When she told Nicole Scherzinger she should have a baby
Following Nicole Scherzinger’s public split from her longtime boyfriend, Lewis Hamilton, Scherzinger appeared on The Wendy Williams Show and got an unusual pep talk from the host. Williams brought up the breakup during the interview, saying that it was sad to see Scherzinger spend “seven years of her life breaking up and getting back together.” Specifically, Williams noted Scherzinger’s age — she was 37 at the time — and very bluntly added, “They [men] can have babies whenever they want. You know what I mean? Those are seven years you can never get back.”
Williams’ comments were not only rude, they were completely offensive. To assume that Scherzinger wasted seven years on a relationship that didn’t result in a child is ridiculous. It’s problematic for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Williams had no idea whether or not Scherzinger even wanted children in the first place. Bottom line: it was none of her business, and made for an extremely awkward interview.
Way back in 2012, Williams dissed Beyoncé on her show, essentially calling her stupid. “You know Beyoncé can’t talk. Beyoncé sounds like she has a fifth grade education. She can’t talk. Honestly. We really do have the closed captioning for times like that,” Williams said at the time.
On the list of Wendy Williams offenses, this one rates pretty low, but I think we can all agree that going after Queen Bey is never a good idea. It’s also not great when someone insinuates that a female celebrity should stop talking and just be sit there and look pretty.
After Jennifer Lawrence spoke about the hack that publicized her private nude photos in an interview with Vanity Fair, Williams decided to impart some advice to Lawrence that wasn’t exactly helpful. “Jennifer Lawrence, you know what? Don’t sweat this young lady,” Williams started. “I mean, you’re the one who took the pictures… You don’t look bad under your clothes, and I think the [hack] has actually made your career even hotter.”
I’m pretty sure Lawrence didn’t need a nude photo scandal to make her career any “hotter,” and I’m also pretty sure that Lawrence did not want any advice from Williams regarding the hack. Williams should have just respect the fact that Lawrence felt violated by the hack and doesn’t want us looking at her private photos.