Lifetime’s Wendy Williams Documentary Called ‘Disgusting’ in Unsealed Lawsuit

Where Is Wendy Williams? documentary (Credit: Lifetime)

The saga over Lifetime’s controversial Wendy Williams documentary took a new turn Thursday, when a lawsuit filed by Williams’ legal guardian was unsealed.

Court-appointed guardian Sabrina Morrissey filed the suit last month in New York County Supreme Court, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Where is Wendy Williams? from airing.

On Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter and TMZ published excerpts from the newly unsealed complaint.

Related StoryWendy Williams Spends Her Days in Bed, Drinking Vodka, Lifetime Documentary Reveals

In the filing, Morrissey accuses Lifetime parent company A&E Networks of “exploitation,” saying she never consented to Williams taking part in the film. The suit adds that the radio and TV legend was in no condition herself, to agree to allow cameras to follow her around.

“This blatant exploitation of a vulnerable woman with a serious medical condition who is beloved by millions within and outside of the African American community is disgusting, and it cannot be allowed,” the complaint states.

In a statement Thursday, A+E Networks said: “We look forward to the unsealing of our papers as well, as they tell a very different story.”

Where is Wendy Williams? aired Feb. 24-25, and showed Williams sequestered in her New York City home, spending most of her time in bed or covered in blankets on a sofa, struggling to remember details about her life, downing vodka, and frequently crying because she was lonely.

Two days before the film premiered, Williams’ caregivers released a statement saying she was diagnosed with dementia.

Related StoryWendy Williams Reveals Health and Financial Struggles in Shocking Lifetime Doc Trailer

Williams’ son, Kevin Hunter Jr., said in the film that he took his mom in for medical testing in 2021, and doctors said she had alcohol-induced dementia.

In her lawsuit, Morrissey says Williams is “incapable of managing her own business and personal affairs, and indeed, was placed into a guardianship and under the supervision of this court.”

As previously reported, Williams has been under a guardianship since 2022, after Wells Fargo Bank filed a petition to a New York court amid concerns that she was “the victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.”

Williams has several physical ailments, including Graves’ disease, thyroid disease, and lymphedema, which has caused her feet to swell and become disfigured.

The TV star is no longer able to walk without assistance. Yet the documentary showed bottles of vodka in her home. It’s unclear who supplied the alcohol. The film crew noted that there was no food in her refrigerator, and the footage showed Williams had lost a considerable amount of weight since she appeared daily on television.

In a statement posted on screen during the film, Lifetime said the project was initially intended to document Williams’ “comeback” and the launch of her podcast after her daytime talk show was canceled in 2022. But the focus changed when the crew filmed her struggling with physical and mental heath problems.

Morrissey claims in the filing that after she learned about the documentary, Williams’ then manager, William Selby, told her he would have say in the final cut and the film would portray Williams positively, “like a phoenix rising from the ashes.”

For that reason, Morrissey said she didn’t contest the movie earlier.

But when the trailer was released, Morrissey claims she was disturbed by what she saw.

“The guardian was horrified by the release of the trailer and its contents, which falsely depict W.W.H.’s behavior and demeanor as being the result of intoxication rather than the result of her medical condition, which has been diagnosed by doctors at Weill Cornell,” the lawsuit says.

It adds that “Selby informed the Guardian that he, too, was surprised by the February 2, 2024 release, and that he had not reviewed or approved either the trailer or the documentary prior to the trailer’s release.”

Selby, Williams, and Kevin Hunter Jr. were all listed as executive producers on the film.

Earlier this month, Lifetime said Where is Wendy Williams? drew the network’s biggest audience for a documentary title in two years. The film averaged 1.2 million viewers in the live+3 days after category. In the days that followed, the viewership total climbed to more than 6.2 million total viewers on TV and digital platforms.

Below is a clip from the film.

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