During Monday’s season premiere of the Wendy Williams Show, the talk-show host suggested that Huffman was given a lighter sentence due to her race and status.
“If she was black, it’d be 14 years,” she said. “Do I think she’ll ever work again? Yeah. Because first of all, she copped to it. Second of all, she’s one half of a power couple in Hollywood. And she’s a nice woman. She just did something that I think a lot of mothers would do if you had the means.”
On Friday, the actress, 56, was sentenced to 14 days behind bars. The judge also fined her $30,000 and said she would be on supervised release for one year. Huffman will have to complete 250 hours of community service in addition.
“I think she should have been fined millions,” added Williams, 55. “Also, the money that she is fined should hopefully be given to support those who can’t afford a better education.”
After Huffman’s sentencing, the story of Tanya McDowell — a homeless mother sentenced to five years in prison for using a friend’s address to enroll her son in school in 2011 — spread across social media. Critics pointed out the stark contrast in the consequences between these two cases, arguing that it exemplified a disparity that continues to put underprivileged communities at a disadvantage.
However, supporters note that Huffman’s sentence is considered harsh for the crime; most first-time wire fraud offenders who plead guilty get probation and no jail time.
In a series of tweets, the musician appeared to address the backlash from those who believe Huffman’s sentence should have been stricter.
“I get why everyone gets mad when rich person X gets a short sentence and poor person of color Y gets a long one,” the singer wrote. “The answer isn’t for X to get more; it’s for both of them to get less (or even none!!!) We should level down not up.”
“Americans have become desensitized to how much we lock people up,” he continued. “Prisons and jails are not the answer to every bad thing everyone does, but we’ve come to use them to address nearly every societal ill.”
Americans have become desensitized to how much we lock people up. Prisons and jails are not the answer to every bad thing everyone does, but we've come to use them to address nearly every societal ill.— John Legend (@johnlegend) September 14, 2019
“The sentence Felicity received today is not about a victory or a defeat,” the source said. “She is not disappointed or relieved about the outcome. She is contrite and humbled and accepts the outcome.”
The source added, “Felicity knows she has a lot of work ahead of her to heal her family and win back the trust of the public, her colleagues and friends. She hopes the public will give her a second chance.”