Wendy Williams legal fight: The five biggest bombshells

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(NewsNation) — Wendy Williams may be in an undisclosed facility receiving treatment for aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, but the nasty legal fight over her legacy continues.

Last Friday, a judge unsealed some of the exhibits in the ongoing legal case that Wendy Williams’ guardian brought against A&E Television Networks and Entertainment One Reality Productions, the producer and network that aired the two-part “Where is Wendy Williams?” docuseries in late February. The series, which Williams’ guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, called “exploitive,” “disgusting” and “cruel,” portrayed an incapacitated, inebriated and often incoherent Willams and, according to Williams, was a far cry from what the producers had promised the show would be.

Williams’ guardian alleges she only agreed to let the recent exhibits and complaints be unsealed after a series of “concerning” leaks to the media, and the documents unsealed March 15 are numerous and disturbing.

Before we go any further, here is an important timeline to take into account.

2020: Williams displays concerning behavior on the set of “The Wendy Williams Show,” including falling down, forgetting words and freezing.

2021: A series of guest hosts fill in for Williams while she takes care of her health. At that point, it is only known she has Graves’ disease and lymphedema.

January 2022: Williams’ talk show is canceled.

  • This image released by Lifetime shows Wendy Williams, subject of the Lifetime documentary "Where is Wendy Williams?" (Calvin Gayle/Lifetime via AP)
  • FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, host Wendy Williams appears at the 2014 Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas. Lifetime's “Where is Wendy Williams?” documentary will air this weekend as scheduled after a New York court rejected an attempt to block the broadcast. The order signed Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 by a New York appellate judge says blocking the documentary from airing as planned on Saturday and Sunday would be an “impermissible prior restraint on speech that violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
  • Wendy Williams Private Dinner NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 21: Wendy Williams attends a private dinner at Fresco By Scotto on February 21, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

February 2022: Wells Fargo initiates guardianship proceedings. Morrissey is made guardian.

June 2022: Allegedly unbeknownst to Morrisey, a company called The Wendy Experience is created by NYC-based law firm The Baldonado Group. No one knows who the CEO is, as signatures are illegible.

August 2022 to April 2023: Williams films the docuseries.

November 2022: Contract for “Where is Wendy Williams?” is drawn up between main production company  Entertainment One and The Wendy Experience.

Jan. 2, 2023: Contract “executed.”

Feb. 17, 2023: Contract amended.

March 1, 2023: Contract amended again.

May 2023: Williams is diagnosed with aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

Feb. 5, 2024: “Good Morning America” teases the Lifetime doc, to Morrissey’s shock and dismay.

Feb. 21, 2024: Williams’ aphasia and dementia diagnosis is shared with the media.

Feb. 25, 2024: “Where is Wendy Williams” premieres on Lifetime.

Among the biggest allegations in the complaint and unsealed documents are:

Wendy Williams was paid a paltry $100,000 per episode

This amount raises eyebrows, as Williams earned a whopping $10 million a year for her eponymous talk show that ran for 13 years before it was canceled, and insiders told me that the executive producers, which included her son Kevin Hunter Jr. and her then-manager Will Selby, likely made “seven figures.” A lot of money was made off Williams in that doc, she just didn’t see the bulk of it, making just $400k total. There is no word in the agreement on how much Selby or Hunter Jr. made.

Also disturbing is the language in the contract for a doc that Morrissey claims was made under false pretenses. Language like “Producer is and shall be the sole and exclusive owner, throughout the universe and in perpetuity, of The Program.”

Wendy Williams was filmed just before her diagnosis in May 2023

According to Entertainment Weekly, the footage was “filmed between August 2022 and April 2023.” The complaint notes “the footage was filmed pursuant to a purported contract … dated November 30, 2022, and signed on January 25, 2023, and amended on February 17, 2023 and March 1. 2023… as a result of her medical condition, (Williams) lacked capacity when the contract was purportedly executed, and she remains in that condition.” The complaint adds that Morrissey did not authorize the terms of the contract.

A shadow company formed before filming “lent” Wendy Williams to production

A shadow company formed by NYC-based law firm The Baldonado Group just before filming started allegedly “lent” Wendy Williams to the production. It is unclear who the CEO  is due to illegible signatures.

Per the complaint:

“The Wendy Experience, Inc. is a New York corporation formed in June 2022 and headquartered in New York, New York. The registered address for The Wendy Experience, Inc. is The Baldonado Group, P.C., a law firm based in New York, New York. It is presently unclear who purported to authorize the creation of The Wendy Experience, Inc. or the retention of The Baldonado Group, P.C. Although the Wendy Experience, Inc. was formed after the appointment of the Guardian, the Guardian did not authorize, and was not involved in its creation and did not learn of the Contract until many months later. Similarly, The Baldonado Group, P.C. is not among the law firms that have been appointed or approved by the court in the guardianship proceeding, and the Guardian has not authorized the retention of the firm.

“The Contract appears to have been signed on January 25, 2023 by the ‘CEO’ of The Wendy Experience, Inc. The name in the signature is not clearly legible; however, it is highly distinguishable from W.W.H.’s signature.

“The Contract provides, inter alia, that The Wendy Experience, Inc. will ‘lend’ W.W.H. for filming of a nonfiction project. The Contract further provides that Entertainment One will produce a nonfiction project for A&E Networks and provides W.W.H. with no ability to exercise any control whatsoever over the final product.”

Will Selby, became Williams’ manager and allegedly outright lied to Morrissey

The complaint notes: “Prior to the release of the Trailer, the planned documentary was described to the Guardian as a project that would be positive and beneficial for W.W.H.’s image. William Selby, acting as W.W.H.’s manager for the project, made representations to the Guardian that he would have final creative control over the finished product and that the documentary would portray W.W.H. in a positive manner, ‘like a phoenix rising from the ashes’ after her television show, which had been on-air for more than a decade, was canceled due to her medical condition. Based on these assurances and representations, the Guardian allowed the project to go forward, with the understanding that nothing would be released without review and final approval of the Guardian and the court, who are responsible for W.W.H.’s well-being. 12. Instead, without prior warning and without seeking or obtaining prior approval from the Guardian or the court, on February 2, 2024, Defendants released the trailer on February 2, 2024, and announced that a full documentary will be released on February 24-25, 2024. 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.”

Wendy Williams is now so incapacitated she needs constant care

As the complaint notes, “(Williams) is contending with very serious medical issues that have rendered her effectively incapacitated. She currently is under 24-hour medical care and supervision.”

The complaint goes on but leaves me with more questions than answers. Who is Will Selby? How did he become Wendy’s manager?  Who actually created the shell company of “The Wendy Experience?” Was Wendy of sound mind when she signed anything? And of course: Why was this project allowed to air?

It’s absolutely infuriating. All of it. 

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