According to the Daily Mail, advertisers have threatened to pull out of The Wendy Williams Show, if the talk show host doesn’t stop her public support of R. Kelly and her criticisms of the MeToo movement on the platform.
During the last few months, the singer has been accused of sexual assault, running a sex cult, preying on aspiring young singers and of giving two women an STD. With the rise of new allegations and a call for his music to be boycotted with the #MuteRKelly campaign, Kelly has lost female members of his team, and Spotify temporarily pulled his music from their promoted content.
In January, Williams said the singer was not a “me too,” because Aaliyah voluntarily married him when she was 15 with the permission of her parents. She critiqued the movement calling it unfair. During a May taping of the Wendy Show, the TV personality told her audience that she had a moving conversation with Kelly.
Williams then asked if the audience would “be offended” if she invited the singer to speak on her show before telling her team to make it happen. Later that month, the 53-year-old began to cry revealing that Kelly, “can’t read, write or add,” and said the story is sad.
Debmar-Mercury, the show’s syndication company, was bewildered by the show of support for Kelly during the segment. An inside source told the publication that if Williams was told to pull back her sympathy for the R&B legend or they will stop working with her during a meeting in late May.
“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,” a source told the publication. “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.”
Williams has since changed her stance following a CBS interview with Faith Rodgers, who is suing R. Kelly for sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose he had an STD.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.