Wendy Williams Backs Off From Support For R. Kelly
Wendy Williams is backpedaling on her support for R. Kelly and her criticisms of the MeToo movement after sponsors threatened to pull out of her show, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The often controversial talk show queen spoke out last month in support of the R&B singer who has been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct and has two pending lawsuits from women who accused him of giving them STDs.
Williams even asked her audience if they would 'be offended' if she invited the singer on to her show and then publicly urged her management team to make it happen.
An insider has told DailyMail.com that the show's syndication company, Debmar-Mercury was shocked and dismayed at the direction Wendy took during the segment.
Company executives allegedly begged her to tone down her support for R. Kelly after advertisers began threatening to jump ship.
'It's already been a tough season for Wendy. The revelations of her husband's affair caused major drama at the show. Her illness cost the show to lose money during her three weeks off, which is why Jerry O'Connell had to come in and guest host one week,' the source said.
Now, her supporting R. Kelly despite his history of questionable sexual misconduct in this day of reckoning for women is misguided and dangerous to the business of her show.'
Wendy broke down in tears on her talk show last month while defending the disgraced singer and blaming the parents of the women who are involved with him
Wendy was forced to take time off from work in February after revealing she was suffering from Graves Disease.
In a video message Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation 2018 Patients and Family Conference she said the illness started taking a bigger toll on her beginning last year, her life 'has completely changed.'
Network executives called a meeting in late May asking Wendy to pull back on her on-air support for Kelly because they feared that the show could take a major hit.
'They were straight up. If you lose advertisers over this, it's going to be a problem. So it's time to take a different approach to R. Kelly before your talk show is gone and you're having to go on the road and open up for him,' the insider added.
Debmar-Mercury did not respond to DailyMail.com's request for comment.
On a May 22 episode, Wendy switched her stance following a CBS News interview that morning with a woman named Faith Rodgers who is suing R. Kelly for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and failure to disclose he had a STD.
'At this point, what do you say? R. Kelly is apparently guilty of a lot of things. The law just has to catch up to the accusations. You know what I mean? I think more girls will probably come out and tell their stories... I think there will be more,' Wendy said.
She continued: 'Where are the cops? How long will it take before another young lady comes out and they can ban together and call Gloria Allred or her daughter? R. Kelly, you need to lie on that sword.'
It was a stark contrast from her previous comments over the last five months.
'Wendy loves her job. She lives to be on TV every day. The last thing she's going to do is intentionally jeopardize this dream opportunity, not even for R. Kelly,' the source said.
Wendy had been slammed by critics who accused her of victim shaming.
Days after anti-sexual harassment initiative Time's Up released a statement calling for radio stations and streaming services to 'mute R.Kelly,' Wendy showed sympathy for the star while sharing her story about meeting him.
The famous Ignition singer has been accused of leading a sex cult, and various forms of sexual misconduct and has two pending lawsuits from women who accused him of giving them an STD.
'I'm not going to even belabor the point,' she told her audience. 'I know things about R. Kelly that I will take to my grave — unless he tells them.'
Wendy disclosed that no question was off limits and that Kelly had answered everything she asked him, though she promised him not to reveal the things he said.
The TV gossip also confirmed that Kelly, who has been accused of running a sex cult, was illiterate, something that singer had confessed to in numerous interviews in the past.
'And also, Robert, it's long been said and he actually did admit this to me, I was shocked he was actually admitting this — because he can't read, he can't write and he can't add,' she said. 'I won't tell you about how he maneuvers through the world.'
Wendy broke down in tears during the segment and even appeared to blame the parents for their children ending up being associated with Kelly.
'I can't understand not knowing how to read, write, or add and I don't understand parents who unleash their kids—that's it,' she said, before bursting into tears.
The longtime TV personality, 53, also made waves in January after she said on air that she was 'sick' of the MeToo movement and labeled it as unfair.
'I'm sick of this #MeToo movement. I love that people are speaking up for the first time and coming out and everything, but now it's got — I look at all men like, "You're a #MeToo." All of them. All of them, which is not fair,' she said.
During that same episode, which aired on January 25, she also defended R. Kelly's illegal marriage to late R&B singer Aaliyah, who married the then 27-year-old when she was only 15.
'R. Kelly wasn't a "me too." Aaliyah voluntarily married him when she was 15 years old. Her parents voluntarily let her do it,' Wendy touted during Hot Topics.
Kelly and Aaliyah eloped in 1994 after his tour manager allegedly secured her a fake I.D. saying she was 18. The marriage was deemed illegal and was later annulled.
Wendy also made light of the 14-year-old girl in the R&B singer's infamous 2002 sex tape, saying that the young girl featured in the video 'let it go down.'
'It's those type of flippant remarks that have people thinking she's victim bashing. The idea that this woman dismissed a grown man sleeping with a 14-year-old on a sex tape because the underage child seemed experienced is a sick, sick thing,' added the source.
According to the source, Debmar-Mercury executives believe that the threats from sponsors to pull out of the show are serious, as several high profile sponsors like Chevrolet pulled their sponsorship money from the talk show in July 2016 after Williams made disparaging remarks about the NAACP and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
'We've seen what has happened to men who appeared untouchable when they became casualties of the #MeToo movement and sponsors stopping dropping from their shows.
'The network fears that if Wendy keeps conducting herself the way that she is, she'll be the first big female casualty of the movement,' the source said.
Date Posted: Friday, June 29th, 2018 , Total Page Views: 458