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Wendy Williams Lawsuit

Heavy The feud over the Wendy Williams documentary continues.

A legal battle involving a “Dancing with the Stars” alum continues to make headlines. Wendy Williams is at the center of the drama after her legal guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, filed a lawsuit over the documentary that aired on Lifetime.

Details regarding the network’s response to the lawsuit have emerged. The network alleges Williams’ guardian objected to the documentary airing out of personal worries of criticism towards her.

The network alleged, “Only after seeing the Documentary’s trailer and realizing her role in [Wendy Williams] life may be criticized did Ms. Morrissey enlist the courts to unconstitutionally silence that criticism.”

Here’s what you need to know:

The Network Argued Wendy Williams & Her Guardian Were Involved All Along

Lifetime aired “Where Is Wendy Williams?” on February 23 and 24. The episodes aired as planned, despite a lawsuit filed just days earlier.

On February 22, TMZ reported that Morrissey, Williams’ court-appointed legal guardian, filed a lawsuit against A+E Television Networks, Lifetime’s parent company. The lawsuit was initially filed under seal.

TMZ shared new information about A+E’s response to Morrissey’s filing on March 21. Morrissey’s initial lawsuit failed to delay Lifetime’s airing of the Williams documentary.

Mark Ford, an executive producer on the project, provided a sworn statement laying out the network’s side of the situation. He indicated Williams and Morrissey were both on board with the documentary from the beginning.

Initially, cameras rolled to capture Williams’ plan to start a podcast. The Lifetime team did not know the extent or complexity of Williams’ health issues at the time.

As The Hollywood Reporter shared, Williams had thyroid issues and Graves’ disease.

Documents obtained by TMZ indicate Ford talked to multiple people from Wiliams’ camp early in the filming process. Ford was told Morrissey knew what was happening and did not try to curtail Williams’ participation.

Morrissey did not appear in the documentary. Deadline noted Morrissey alleged that the Lifetime documentary was a “blatant exploitation of a vulnerable woman with a serious medical condition.”

She also alleged that Williams did not have the mental capacity necessary to agree to the contract to film the project. Morrissey’s lawsuit alleged the Lifetime project was a “blatant exploitation of a vulnerable woman with a serious medical condition.”

Information regarding Williams’ health emerged days before “Where Is Wendy Williams?” aired. She received a diagnosis of aphasia and frontotemporal dementia. Williams’ diagnosis came after filming had been happening for months.

A+E Networks Alleges Sabrina Morrissey Was Trying to Avoid Criticism

Deadline reported that the attorney for A+E Networks, Rachel Strom, argued Morrissey’s lawsuit may have been over personal concerns. Seeing the trailer for the project prompted worries on Morrissey’s part, Strom suggested. The attorney argued Morrissey filed the suit to try to avoid backlash she might have received personally.

“The Order impermissibly gags defendants from publishing speech that is unquestionably a matter of public concern, namely [Wendy Williams] own through guardianship process,” Strom also argued.

The attorney also questioned why Morrissey waited so long to file the lawsuit. Morrissey “had months and months to seek a remedy, intervene in filming, or voice her concerns to the defendants, [Williams] or her family,” the network’s response noted.

The lawyer further argued, “Plaintiff did not [intervene], and her delay is contrary to the supposed need for emergency relief.”

Appellate judge Peter Moulton determined that restricting Lifetime from airing the documentary would be an “impermissible prior restraint on speech that violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.”