Wendy Williams has yet to address a tasteless joke that she made on the Monday episode of her talk show about the death of well-known sex and family therapist Amie Harwick, who was killed during an alleged attack by her ex-boyfriend. However, on Wednesday’s The Wendy Williams Show, Williams mentioned swarming paparazzi and “a firestorm of phone calls” she experienced on Tuesday.
To recap, Harwick was found Saturday beneath a three-story balcony near her Hollywood Hills home. Her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse, against whom Harwick had multiple restraining orders, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of murder. Additionally, Harwick once dated Drew Carey, the current host of The Price Is Right. While describing Harwick’s death on Monday, Williams said, “Once the cops got there, she was down there dead on the ground. Was pushed off of a third-floor balcony. I’ll give you a little back story: She was killed not by Drew but by the ex... come on down!” The last phrase was a reference to The Price Is Right’s oft-repeated command to its contestants. Williams was, even in the most generous interpretation, making light of a woman’s murder and, by extension, the possible abuse that preceded it. (It’s unclear why Harwick previously sought restraining orders for Pursehouse.)
It wasn’t until Tuesday that the internet backlash really took off. On Wednesday’s episode, Williams alluded to the furor before moving on to New York City’s upcoming ban on plastic bags and the death of Ja’Net DuBois.
Williams tends to play fast and loose with taste and is prone to saying stuff that could (and sometimes does) ruffle the public’s feathers. That’s always been what’s fun about her, and it’s always what’s gotten her into trouble. She walks a fine line between funny and despicable. Earlier this year, Williams came under fire for what many perceived as a mockery of Joaquin Phoenix’s cleft palate (she later apologized). Last week, Williams, a seeming career ally to the LGBTQ+ community, told an oddly retrograde joke (or commentary, really) about gay men in heels and dresses.
It prompted a rather lengthy, teary video apology she uploaded across social media platforms.
Perhaps she’s turned to ignoring the fury and hoping it just goes away.