Wendy Williams’ guardian challenges validity of contract for docuseries in legal documents

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Former daytime talk show big Wendy Williams signed a statement to return portion successful a docuseries that critics person called exploitative without her financial guardian present, a ineligible filing obtained by NBC News Tuesday alleges.

Williams was impaired — but had not yet been diagnosed pinch a neurological information that affects her expertise to pass and understand others — erstwhile she agreed successful November 2022 to return portion successful a two-part Lifetime docuseries, nan guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, said successful tribunal documents revenge connected Feb. 21 successful New York State Supreme Court and unsealed Thursday. The docuseries aired successful 2 parts connected Feb. 24 and 25.

“She was not, and is not, tin for consenting to nan position of nan documentary Contract,” nan papers state. “And nary 1 acting successful W.W.H.’s champion liking would let her to beryllium portrayed successful nan demeaning mode successful which she is portrayed successful nan Trailer for nan documentary.”

Even though Williams is listed arsenic nan executive shaper of “Where is Wendy Williams,” Morrissey asked nan tribunal to state nan statement null and void and barroom A&E Television Networks and Entertainment One Reality Productions from “releasing nan documentary and immoderate associated footage.”

The aforesaid time nan tribunal documents were filed, Williams’ guidance squad announced successful a connection that she was successful a curen facility, diagnosed pinch superior progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, nan aforesaid debilitating ailment that character Bruce Willis was diagnosed pinch successful 2022.

It was each for naught.

Citing nan First Amendment, a judge connected Feb. 23 dismissed Morrissey’s petition for a restraining bid to artifact nan show from airing, but did not disregard her lawsuit.

Morrissey said successful nan tribunal papers nan erstwhile TV talk show big was depicted successful a “demeaning and undignified manner.” The two-part docuseries sparked outrage from Williams’ friends and fans.

Morrissey, who was appointed Williams’ guardian by a New York State judge successful February 2022, is still suing A&E. 

In her lawsuit, which was first obtained by NBC News and which had been sealed to protect Williams’ privacy, Morrissey said nan statement was signed successful November 2022 by “the “CEO” of The Wendy Experience, Inc.” It’s unclear who nan CEO of this company, formed successful June 2022, is, and Morrissey said that while nan institution was formed aft she was appointed guardian, she did not authorize its creation.

Also, Morrissey calls nan CEO signature into mobility successful nan tribunal papers, “The sanction successful nan signature is not intelligibly legible; however, it is highly distinguishable from W.W.H.’s signature.”  

NBC News reached retired to A&E for remark and nan accumulation institution down nan project, Entertainment One Reality Productions, LLC. 

The guardian was alert that a movie unit was moving pinch Williams connected a comeback task and that location had been a mates of days of filming but she was not alert Williams had signed a contract, a root adjacent to nan matter said.

Morrissey said successful nan tribunal docs that Williams’ manager, William Selby, said he’d person “final imaginative control” complete nan documentary and that she allowed nan task to spell guardant “with nan knowing that thing would beryllium released without reappraisal and last support of nan Guardian and nan court.”

Selby declined a petition for comment.

Earlier, successful an interview pinch TODAY.com, nan filmmakers said they were not alert of Williams’ test during production, though they acknowledged that, “Some days, Wendy was connected and very Wendy. Other days, she wasn’t.”

They moved guardant pinch nan task because, according to showrunner Erica Hanson, “We each felt this was a analyzable and delicate communicative to tell, and we each felt a awesome work to do it pinch dignity and sensitivity.”

Morrissey said “Where is Wendy Williams” was thing but honorable aliases sensitive. 

In nan tribunal filing, Morrissey called nan docuseries “humiliating” and “demeaning,” and charged that it is “unconscionably exploiting W.W.H.’s condition, and possibly moreover disclosing her individual and backstage aesculapian diagnosis, for perceived ‘entertainment value’ and nan prurient liking of tv viewers.”

“This blatant exploitation of a susceptible female pinch a superior aesculapian information who is beloved by millions wrong and extracurricular nan African American organization is disgusting and it cannot beryllium allowed,” nan filing states.

Last month, successful an question and reply pinch NBC News, Williams’ publicist Shawn Zanotti, slammed nan producers of nan docuseries.

“I did not work together pinch what was going connected pinch this documentary,” Zanotti said. “I made it very clear to nan guardian. The accumulation institution was alert of that.”

Zanotti said she “didn’t work together pinch nan measurement this was moving and shaking.”

“And alternatively of them dealing pinch me, they decided to disregard me,” she said. “They ignored maine from that moment, and I ne'er heard from them again.”

Williams, 59, hosted nan “The Wendy Williams” show from 2008 to 2021 and performed good successful ratings. In its 10th season, nan show averaged much than 1.6 cardinal viewers a day, Deadline reported.

Speculation astir Williams’ wellness began successful 2017, aft she fainted unrecorded connected nan air.

Williams has been unfastened pinch her assemblage astir her struggles pinch addiction. In 2019 she told viewers she was surviving successful a sober location and that she had sought curen for supplier use. 

Months later, Williams revealed she was taking clip disconnected because of Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder.

Williams was besides absent from her show successful 2021 and 2022 because of wellness reasons, Variety reported. Sherri Shepherd took complete nan clip slot successful 2022, earlier “The Wendy Williams Show” was yet canceled. 

It was while Williams was disconnected nan aerial that her bank, Wells Fargo, petitioned to person her placed nether a financial guardianship, claiming she was “incapacitated” and “a unfortunate of undue power and financial exploitation,” claims Williams later pushed backmost against.

Chloe Melas

Chloe Melas is an intermezo analogous for NBC News. 

Corky Siemaszko

Corky Siemaszko is simply a elder newsman for NBC News Digital.