Wendy Williams’ Publicist Says Lifetime Documentary ‘Exploited’ Her: ‘She Would Be Mortified’

Wendy Williams
Lars Niki/Getty Images for New York Women in Film & Television

Wendy Williams’ publicist criticized the producers of the new documentary “Where Is Wendy Williams,” claiming filmmakers took advantage of the media personality.

“I felt that [Williams] was being exploited,” Shawn Zanotti told NBC News. “She thought we were focusing on the comeback of her career. … She would be mortified. There’s no way you can convince me that she would be OK with looking and seeing herself in that way.”

Zanotti, who had been working for the talk show host since 2021, is also featured in the documentary. According to a recent report by The Sun, Zanotti has not worked for Williams since May, but those rumors are so far unconfirmed.

She claims the filmmakers intentionally used clips of Williams looking erratic to make her look bad.

“When I mentioned [doing a documentary] to Wendy, she immediately said: ‘Yes, I would love to do it. I would love to be able to get my story out there,’” Zanotti added. 

“That is not the project that [Williams] signed up for,” she said of the finished product. “That’s not the project [the producers] brought to me. That’s not what I told her this was going to be about.”

“There were a lot of good moments. None of those good moments were shown,” Zanotti added.

One day before “Where Is Wendy Williams” aired, her team announced that the 59-year-old daytime TV host had been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia. Filmmakers responded during a TODAY interview, saying they didn’t know about her medical diagnosis during filming. 

“I think we all ultimately wanted to shed light on this period of time in Wendy’s life to help understand what she was going through. I can totally understand how, at times, it’s hard to watch,” documentary maker Erica Hanson said. “It was hard at times to film, but we wanted to be honest in painting a real picture of her isolation and her struggle with addiction.”

She added, “We didn’t know that she had dementia. We didn’t know that it was confusing at times. Some days, Wendy was on and very Wendy. Other days, she wasn’t. We all felt this was a complex and sensitive story to tell, and we all felt a great responsibility to do it with dignity and sensitivity.”  


But Zanotti believes they would have gone ahead with filming either way.

“I don’t think [the diagnosis] would have stopped them at all. The producers were asking questions throughout the entire time — would ask questions where she would somewhat seem confused, and I feel as though it was done to be intentional at that moment in time to make their storyline,” Williams’ former publicist said. “Again, this was presented as a documentary to her, but to me, it looked as though it was a reality show of a circus, a circus to her downfall.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Wendy Williams’ Publicist Says Lifetime Documentary ‘Exploited’ Her: ‘She Would Be Mortified’