Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill is speaking out against TV host Wendy Williams after she made a gesture and comments on "The Wendy Williams Show" which appeared to mock people with cleft lip.
����The comments made and actions made by @WendyWilliams regarding people with a cleft lip/ palate are just terrible!
I will be making a post daily about this issue until she publicly apologizes and makes a charitable donation meaning. @CLAPACOMMUNITY https://t.co/lT2AZ48XJX
During her show on Jan. 7, Williams put her finger to her mouth and pulled on her upper lip as she made a reference to cleft lip and palate.
Bighill, who was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate, said he first saw the clip after someone tagged him in it online.
"I was extremely upset," said Bighill. "It brought me back to when I was a kid being made fun of and people using their finger to pull their lip up, just like she did."
He wasn't the only social media user to take offense.
For a solid 10 seconds she used her finger to mimic a cleft lip while the audience laughed. Imagine how my 5 year old would take it if he saw it? @WendyWilliams
I only speak on it bc I’m personally informed and educated on the topic. #bebetter Do work Twitter pic.twitter.com/whfBbCVZE4
Bighill added that comments like those Williams made don't bother him anymore, but said he knows many kids out there are made fun of as he was. He feels kids shouldn't have to see those kinds of comments made by someone with a platform like Williams’.
Bighill's son was also born with bilateral cleft lip and palate, and Bighill said he needs to stand up for kids, like his son, who might not have a voice.
The linebacker said he will now take to social media every day and talk about what Williams did until she apologizes and makes a charitable donation to a cleft organization.
Thank you everyone for coming together, I can’t tell you what it means to me to see your love/support!! Well over 30k ppl have been a part of this! @WendyWilliams still owes a public apology to every1 of the cleft community. Please see my message/thoughts in the pics below pic.twitter.com/SXntjtaKBP
"It really is getting her to recognize what she did and speak on it. And the people who watch that show are going to be able to realize that we are all part of ending bullying, we are all part of it, and that will be a great message to go out to everybody as well."
Getting support for speaking out
Bighill has also been receiving a lot of support online for standing up to Williams, and some social media users have been donating to a charity he works with, Making Faces.
Wow!! Thanks Sean! I appreciate that so much!!! Happy to use my platform to help others! https://t.co/27BUHpavEm— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) January 11, 2020
"The amount of people who have reached out has been amazing,” he said. “And the amount of people who have supported this initiative has been amazing as well."
"Social media is so powerful, it can be used for good, it can used for evil, but there is just so many more good people out there than there are bad, so social media can really amplify a lot of great messages."
Throughout the situation, Bighill said he has one clear message he wants to tell everyone.
"The overall message behind all of this that we can all get behind is a message that we can end bullying.”
CTV News has reached out to The Wendy Williams Show and a publicist for Wendy Williams for a response.
AboutFace supports Bighill
AboutFace, which was founded in 1985, helps those with facial differences by promoting and enhancing emotional and mental well-being.
The organization said it stands with the Blue Bombers' linebacker.
"AboutFace is super excited and supports Adam Bighill in what he is doing, in his comments and the things he is looking for, because AboutFace has been doing that for over 35-years, trying to educate the people around," said Cynthia Pantel, who is a volunteer with AboutFace.