Celebrity gossip talk show host Wendy Williams got served with the facts by none other than the family of late music royalty Aretha Franklin after Williams served slight shade about the Queen of Soul’s forthcoming Amazing Grace gospel film.
In her Friday episode of The Wendy Williams Show, Williams started out explaining that Aretha “never was the easiest woman to deal with,” but said it “in a loving way,” considering that she experienced it firsthand. Williams announced to her audience that prior to her 2018 passing, Aretha didn’t want the film to be released yet, but it will finally be hitting the silver screen in April. She proceeded to reveal a clip from the film, which shows Aretha crooning away right in her church element as Williams further acknowledges that the film only shows that shot. She then points out that Aretha was a woman of glam from head to toe, contrary to the afro and minimal makeup she wore in the previewed clip Williams claimed was the single shot that would be shown in the film. “Guys, this is a one camera shot,” Williams continued. “They want you to go to the movies to see this.”
She then explained the situation behind the scene in the film, which came from a live recording that Aretha later compiled into an album. But her family, Williams said, handled most of the business side when it came to her career, and thus, to her unsurprise, “the finances were a mess” after Aretha’s death. While she said she doesn’t believe that her estate is releasing the movie to pilfer away at her finances, she is convinced that it may have to do with covering some unpaid bills.
But according to the official statement from Aretha’s estate, who apparently caught Wendy’s segment, her sentiments are completely off about the film and the details of her estate handlings.
According to Detroit Free Press, the estate first clapped back with the simple understanding that “[Williams’] commentary indicates that she has neither seen the documentary nor understands its import or intent.” It went on to acknowledge that the film was “conceived as a documentary,” but technical difficulties bottlenecked its completion.
That left producer Alan Elliott to creatively organize what was left into footage that was used for Amazing Grace. “By showing a brief clip out of context and mocking its quality on her show, Williams inaccurately represented Ms. Franklin and the movie to her audience,” the statement reads. It also clarified Williams' sentiments on Aretha’s quote-unquote lack of glam in the clip, which they informed was “in step with the times and appropriate to the occasion.”
They also fact-checked Williams on her suggestive rhetoric that the live recording was simply ripped and turned into an album. That album was actually one of Aretha’s Grammy-winning treasures, remains the biggest-selling live gospel project in history and sold over two million copies, all of which the estate believes Williams diminished by refusing to acknowledge in such passive sentiments.
They also emphasized how many fans are already lining up for the film, contrary to Williams' statement that no one would go see it.
“Amazing Grace” earned a 95-average rating on Metacritic and a 96 critical score at Rotten Tomatoes,” the statement iterated. After one more point about the film and Williams’ unknowledgeable dialogue around it, the statement concluded with the ultimate read for the celeb gossip host.
“Wendy Williams is the host of the most-watched daytime gossip show in syndicated television,” it reads. “However, that does not give her license to offer misleading commentary about a legacy entertainer based on unverified information. In this instance, the show’s research team let Williams down. At a time when the media is fighting a battle against ‘fake news,’ Williams continues to perpetuate false facts, and her commentary was irresponsible.”
Read the full response to Williams here.
(Photos from left: Taylor Hill/Getty Images, Paras Griffin/Getty Images)