Wendy Williams’ Lifetime Doc Silenced After Critical Trailer by A&E

As anticipation built up for Lifetime’s eye-opening documentary on Wendy Williams’ health and addiction struggles, a legal dispute unfolded behind the scenes. A+E Networks found itself at odds with Sabrina Morrissey, Williams’ court-appointed guardian since 2022, who sought to prevent the documentary’s release. The guardian’s actions, according to A+E Networks, were motivated by a desire to avoid negative portrayal in the film. Unsealed records, however, seem to tell a different story.

The Legal Struggle

The New York County Supreme Court unsealed a motion on Friday, shedding light on Morrissey’s attempts to block the release of “Where Is Wendy Williams?”. Allegedly, Morrissey moved to restrain the documentary’s release when it became apparent that her guardianship of Williams would be critically portrayed in the film.

A+E Networks’ attorney Rachel Strom responded by accusing Morrissey of trying “to unconstitutionally silence” criticism of her role in Williams’ life by taking legal action only after viewing the documentary’s trailer.

Williams’ Guardianship Background

In 2022, Williams was placed under financial guardianship when Wells Fargo claimed she was an “incapacitated person” and a “victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.” Despite contesting this decision on grounds of improved health and successful treatment for Graves’ disease and thyroid issues, it was discovered that the alleged financial exploitation involved purchases by her son, Kevin Hunter Jr. A detail explored in the documentary.

Questions about Validity

As part of Morrissey’s lawsuit against A+E Networks, she argued that the contract for the documentary was invalid, claiming that Williams lacked the legal or mental ability to authorize her participation in the shoot. The project was labelled as a “blatant exploitation of a vulnerable woman with a serious medical condition” by Morrissey.

However, Justice Peter H. Moulton promptly overturned the emergency restraining order, arguing that preventing the airing of the documentary would infractly infringe on the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The Documentary Release

The newly unsealed court documents outlined arguments which led to the reversal of the restraining order, enabling the four-and-a-half-hour long documentary to be aired as scheduled. The episode, which aired in late February, achieved record-breaking ratings.

A+E Networks accused Morrissey of only initiating legal procedures after viewing a trailer for the film. They argued that her inaction, despite knowledge of the documentary’s production and release for almost a year, was incongruent with her supposed need for emergency relief.

Countering Claims

Despite Morrissey’s claims that the documentary’s content was “embarrassing, harmful, degrading, and untruthful,” A+E argued otherwise. The network pointed out that a press release from Williams’ “care team” already detailed the information Morrissey wished to suppress. They accused Morrissey of attempting to silence Williams and her family from sharing the same information simply because they do not view her in a positive light.

Morrissey’s attempts to void the talent agreement between Williams and the documentary’s producers were also contested. The document features Williams’ participation in the film and her receipt of a “substantial sum” for her involvement in the documentary.

Public Interest in the Documentary

A+E’s lawyers argued that airing “Where Is Wendy Williams?” would be in the public interest as it tackles the subject of conservatorship, a topic that sparked national attention during Britney Spears’ legal challenges.

The documentary also features Williams’ sister, Wanda, indicating her willingness to take on the role of her guardian as she struggles with her health stating, “Whatever I gotta do, I’ll be focused on Wendy’s health.”

Wrapping Up

The legal disputes surrounding the “Where Is Wendy Williams?” documentary offer a deep insight into the complexities and controversies that often accompany celebrity health struggles and conservatorship. Despite the challenges, the documentation of such personal journeys can provide an essential contribution to public awareness and discourse on relevant issues.

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