The long-running talk show hosted by Wendy Williams first premiered in the summer of 2008 and ran for 13 seasons, before it hit a rough patch when the 57-year-old had to take a break from the show after suffering a series of health issues including battling Graves’ disease and being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Despite boasting a 14 year run, the once-beloved chat-fest has its own history of scandal, from Williams being slammed for making insensitive comments about the LGBTQ+ community to being criticized by viewers for her repeated rude quips about other celebrities.
Scroll through the gallery below to see scandals that shocked Wendy Williams fans throughout her time on The Wendy Williams Show.
(2012) Mocking Beyoncé’s Education
Williams sent fans abuzz when she mocked the way Beyoncé speaks in her HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream.
“Fortunately one of the TVs in our kitchen has closed-captioning, so I’ll be able to understand what she says,” the television personality said in a 2012 episode. “You know Beyoncé can’t talk. She sounds like she has a fifth grade education. … We have to call a spade a spade.”
(2015) Body-Shaming Ariana Grande
In August 2015, Williams shamed Ariana Grande for her slim body type during a taping of The Wendy Williams Show.
“She’s 21. She’ll forever look 12. And I don’t mean that in a good way,” Williams said of the “7 Rings” artist. “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. I don’t look at her as, like, a woman.”
(2016) Implying Caitlyn Jenner Wasn’t A Woman
Many viewers were not amused when The Wendy Williams Experience author insinuated that Caitlyn Jenner was not a woman, before crudely pointing out her alleged surgery status.
“Caitlyn still has a member, so that is not a…I mean, until you don’t – aren’t you caught in limbo?” she awkwardly asked producers while on stage.
(2018) Slurring Words On Air
Williams was caught slurring her words on air in a 2018 episode. She later admitted she usually avoids taking pain medication and blamed the incident on struggling to balance her health issues and filming the show.
(2019) Calling Out Christie Brinkley For ‘Fake’ Injury
“Well, that looked fake as h***,” she quipped. “I don’t see a wrist and a shoulder being fractured, but that was real cute.”
(2019) Dragging Meghan Markle For Marrying Prince Harry
“You knew exactly what you were doing … Please don’t try to garner sympathy from us,” Williams said of the Suits actress. “Nobody feels sorry for you. You know what you were signing up for, girl!”
(2019) Moving Into Sober Living House
The tv host revealed in early 2019 that she had moved into a sober living house after battling addiction issues.
“When you see me come to work glammed up, right after the show I go across the street, I do my Pilates. I told you — two hours a day or [so], to take care of my body,” she explained. “I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in my past. I never went to a place to get the treatment. I don’t know how, except God was sitting on my shoulder and I just stopped.”
(2020) Making Homophobic Comments To Audience
Williams shocked audience members in an episode that aired in early 2020 when she insulted men in the audience for innocently clapping when she spoke about “Galentine’s Day”, a recently invented holiday celebrating friendships between women.
“If you’re a man and you’re clapping, you’re not even a part of this,” she told them. “I don’t care if you’re gay … Stop wearing our skirts and our heels. Gay men, you will never be the women that we are — no matter how gay, sir.”
(2020) Poking Fun At Dionne Warwick’s Age, Marijuana Use
The embattled host dragged 81-year-old singer Dionne Warwick‘s activity on Twitter in December 2020, claiming the artist likely has to have her niece, Brittani, help her use social media.
“I totally believe that she is doing her own tweeting, but I think that Brittani is her right hand. After Aunt Dionne does what she wants, after midnight, maybe after some bud,” she joked, referring to the older woman’s 2002 marijuana charges. “Aunt Dionne knows how to stay relevant and Brittani is right there giving her all the filters and checking it over before she sends [it].”
Warwick later shot back on Twitter, slamming Williams for being “not nice” and claiming she isn’t “able to speak without maliciously made comments.”
(2021) Joking About TikTok Star Swavy’s Tragic Death
Williams came under fire by Swavy‘s grieving mother after the host made insensitive comments about his death. The TikTok star — born Matima Miller — was killed at only 19-years-old in a Delaware shooting in 2021.
“I have no idea who this is. Neither does one person in this building,” she told the audience, before going to compare the influencer’s follower count to her own.
“Like, as a mother, Wendy Williams, how dare you? So disrespectful,” Swavy’s mother, Chanelle Clark, said in a televised interview with CBS news. “I used to watch you as a child and even though you have a gossip show and all that, you didn’t even know my son.”