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Janet Hubert Not Interested In “Fresh Prince” Reunion; Calls Will Smith An “A**hole” & “Egomaniac”

Janet Hubert Not Interested In "Fresh Prince" Reunion; Calls Will Smith An "A**hole" & "Egomaniac"

I think we are all somewhat familiar with the public battle between Janet Hubert, Will Smith and NBC, that led to the recasting of the role of Aunt Vivian, in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s fourth season, in the mid-1990s.

And given that she continues to talk about it, it’s clear that Janet Hubert is still very much, shall we say, pissed off at Will Smith, blaming him for her leaving the very successful TV series.

You may recall about a year ago in her appearance in TV One’s series titled Life After, in which Hubert aimed to set the record straight about that entire occurence; in it she was clearly still upset about it all, and angery at Big Willie.

Fast-forward to last week when I posted THIS entry on a potential Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV or film reunion, after Will Smith shared a photo of himself and most of the series’ cast on his Facebook page, taken about a week before Christmas day. The picture traveled the web, fueling rumors that the cast would indeed be getting together for some kind of revival of the show, whether on the big or small screen, though no confirmation of that from anywhere.

Janet Hubert must have heard about it all because, according to an exclusive interview with TMZ, she isn’t at all interested in a reunion of any kind, stating, “There will never be a reunion … as I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith... He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up. This constant reunion thing will never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn’t know the word.

Well then… I suppose if this reunion ever happens, they’ll be looking to Daphne Maxwell Reid, who took over for Hubert after she left the series.

But really, what the fuck is going on here? This is a really long time to hold a grudge; but I wasn’t there, and I don’t know exactly how things happened, so I’m probably not in any position to offer commentary. Obviously Will doesn’t seem to feel like he did anything wrong, unless he is “an egomaniac and has not grown up” as she states; otherwise I’d like to think that he would have apologized if he felt he was in the wrong.


No comments from Will in response; though I doubt he will.

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I can't help but think that some of this discussion reflects class concerns in the African American community and how we view one another. I'm not saying that it's the root of this discussion but I feel there are several other issues boiling underneath the words being said and that's one of them. While there is a HUGE chance I'm reading a little too much into it, there might be a grain of truth in that thought.

Charles Judson

Alfonso Ribeiro also claims that working with Janet Hubert was difficult. It appears around the 2:30 mark. I will say this though, he does come off a bit flippant, so there's part of me that wonders if Ribeiro's memory maybe correct that Hubert was not the easiest person to work with on set. However, in solidarity with Will, the intensity of that memory, and how he recounts it, has changed.


Things to note in the article below: 1. JH initially did not originally blame Smith for her exit; 2. JH was not going to speak of Smith's possible involvement until he attacked her publicly after she had already been replaced. 3. She does indeed point out that not only did Smith probably have a hand her firing, but that it appeared that he was going to kick a woman while she was down (my interpretation) and discredit her future endeavors through what Hubert characterized as "slanderous comments". Also, yes, there are reports that she reprimanded Smith about his "Yo momma so Black" jokes made to the studio audience per BONDGIRL's comment posted below and apparently, she was being "clowned", I suspect, bullied by Smith, Jazzy Jeff and Benny Medina on set like a bunch of kids from "Dangerous Minds". I don't like hypothesizing too much, especially in a case when one's character is on the line; I needed to find more info. Sorry too overwhelm with TMI.


ARTICLE: Smith, Whitten feud over her 'Fresh Prince' exit – 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' actors Janet Hubert-Whitten and Will Smith
(Snippet) – "In one of the most highly-publicized departures in recent memory, Ms. Hubert-Whitten was fired from 'Fresh Prince' following what she described as a feud with network officials. She had told Jet and other media outlets that her termination was some sort of vendetta against her and she did not know the origin of it.

Smith was quoted in the Atlanta Journal as saying that Ms. Hubert-Whitten brought a lot of her problems to work and that the problems lasted well beyond her pregnancy. The paper quoted him as telling a local radio station: 'I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be |The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show' because I know she is going to dog me in the press … She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She's mad now but she's been mad all along. She said once, |I've been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her I'm just the AntiChrist."

Initially, Ms. Hubert-Whitten was reluctant to get specific about the nature of her firing. Now, after reading about Smith's Atlanta interview, she has indicated that Smith played a role in her termination. She also said that many of the remarks he is quoted as having said are not true. "He probably is responsible for my firing. He has a lot of clout. It's-too bad that it's a Black-on-Black attack. I tried not to name names. I have more class than that. I wish Will would tell the truth. If you're going to talk, tell the truth. He has gotten me fired from the show and now he is trying to snatch my career away from me (with his recent comments). I have not slandered him in any way. Anyone who stands up to Mr. Smith on "Fresh Prince" is gone. I reprimanded him constantly for being rude to problem and locking himself up in his room…."

She said she hopes Smith becomes "a stronger, Kinder Black man than he has demonstrated." Smith could not be reached for comment at Jet press time.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group


Janet Hubert on TV ONE (7/2010) – Life After, on losing her job and how she was replaced.


It would be interesting to know the whole story. You know there are 2 sides to everything. I do find it interesting that she seems to be the only one who's said anything so negative….apparently for 15 years now, about Will and the whole situation. I don't know about the rest of the cast, but it appears he's kept in touch with Alfonso and Tatyana. It might be interesting to hear their thoughts. From what we're hearing, it seems maybe apologies would need to go both ways. And then there's that question, if she got her apology, then what? Is she gonna be past it then or still be going over and over and over it with bitterness. I think everyone pretty much agrees, she needs to just get over it.


@ Bondgirl and Nadine: While I don't always agree with your comments I appreciate that they are usually well thought out and tempered, if not downright insightful. I always enjoy reading them.

I personally think Janet Hubert was the best actor on the series. That's not a diss at Will Smith. He's a star and there's no way around that. However I feel being a star has more to do with charisma. He has that to spare and it's apparent when ever he's on screen.

While I'm inclined to believe Janet's version of the story, I don't feel she's chosen the best way of dealing with it. I realize that from now to eternity the first thing an interviewer ask her is always going to be about the show, but she may want to find a better way of dealing with the question. It's a shame her talent is overshadowed by this. Being hurt by people is horrible yet we have to find a way not to compound damage that's been done. However, I'm not in her shoes.


I always felt the second Aunt Viv was terrible she was a lightweight in every sense of the word. The original Aunt Viv was a good actress and she brought integrity to the role. Janet is a trained actress I don't know the full story but I don't think people should put Will Smith on some pedestal. The quality of the Fresh Prince went down after Janet left the show. Also, maybe Janet had a problem with Will because he was a rap artist new to acting and didn't know the craft of acting. Will Smith never went to acting school and Janet did. Will Smith has evolved and he is now a good actor but in the early 1990s he wasn't that good.


Obviously none of us know what happened between Will and Janet but the fact remains…Will has moved on. Janet is still bitter and holding a grudge and it's stagnated her growth as a person and as an actor. I'll be honest, I haven't missed seeing her work and apparently neither has Hollywood. She's still pissed off at Will and he's gone on to become one of the biggest success stories in Hollywood.

If there's something Will needs to apologize for, he may or he may never. Is Janet going to stay mad forever? This is sad.

And lastly, I don't know why Janet even bothered to comment on the reunion possibility. IF there is a FP reunion show, she will be the LAST person they call. Daphne Maxwell Reid will be playing Aunt Vivian.


I loved Aunt Viv, but she comes across exactly how she says Will is. Reportedly Will made "your momma so black" jokes in their downtime to the audience, so I would've gave him the side eye too. Navigating personalities on a set is even more complex when you think you're better than the star because you attended Julliard.


LAST THING, I'm posting on this (not that it matters)… I don't know if Janet Hubert is ever going to check out this page, or not, but I hope she see that no matter how people feel about her recent statements and, apparently, her bitterness (whether we agree with it or not), EVERYONE pretty much loves and misses her work, even her presence. Ms. Hubert has now got to ask herself if maybe carrying this around might have kept her away from us longer than need be. EVERYONE is going to ask you, Ms. Hubert, about Fresh Prince…practically everyone, so if to this day your initial reaction is "to bark", the focus will be less on the circumstances and more on you. I think we all agree that no one is doubting that Will Smith could have been a Primadonna, but the focus should also be on how one was able to handle a bad situation. No judgment, I think everyone wants you, Ms. Hubert, to do well. Thanks S&A for posting.


I loved Janet Hubert much better than Daphne but sister-girl needs to let it go. If anyone heard her radio interview a year or so back you'd know she is definitely BITTER. The host was being genuinely sympathetic but she still mowed him down. She had class and grace and dignity – a more downhome version of Clair Huxtable. I was mad when she left FP and didn't watch many episodes after it but dayum how many years ago is that? Did they make her sign a contract to never go back to Broadway? If she were really that good, no amount of bitchiness and bad attitude would have prevented people from hiring her… at least shortly after her leave. She wasn't on the show long enough to "lose" her chance to return to the theater. Maybe Will was an ass but allowing him that much power over your life when it's evident you had talent and skills before his butt was even born is just plain foolish. Let it go, Aunt Viv.


Whether her complaints are founded or not, welcome to Hollywood, Janet. When an important person is an asshole to you, you shut the eff up, work your ass off, and bide your time until you're important yourself. While I don't doubt that Will has an enormous ego, I always got a diva vibe from Janet – black theatre actors and dancers from her era-ish (Phylicia Rashad, S. Epatha Merkerson) tend to have that snooty "I am an artiste" thing about them- and it didn't help that I was in elementary school with some of her relatives who acted like her being on FP made them better than everyone. It's really too bad; she was an awesome Aunt Viv. I loved it when she and her sisters came together!


Well if that's her attitude after all this time then people won't really want to see her in a reunion anyway. It's a shame, because she's just making herself look worse.


Janet Hubert was asked a question and she gave an answer of how she felt. People can actually move on in their lives but it does not mean that they don't still feel the way they feel about a person, incident or situation. I disagree with the assessment that she is bitter because that term is an easy way of being dismissive of someones legitimate grievance. It reminds me of how black people are always railed on and told to get over things when we voice our grievances on anything. I think Janet Hubert is a marvelous talent and I miss seeing her on television and whatever happened to bring that about was a disservice.

Gregory Carter

Janet Hubert We Never Liked You Anyway .


I saw her on "Life After" and she came off a little arrogant. Like because she may have been the most trained actress on set that everyone had to kiss her feet. She said Will played rap music too loud on set and everything was a party. Well, it was his show and he was a high energy rap artist so I don't know what she was expecting. She blamed her attitude on the fact that she was pregnant and her moods kept changing. She said she stopped talking to them. Fair enough but why have an admitted "attitude" on set with your cast members then be shocked they are done with you? Who wants to work with someone who is giving off constant attitude to everyone when they are trying to work and have some fun? Production is stressful enough without some DIVA bullshit. She made the statement that if Will wanted to have his ass kissed "put it in my contract." Sounds like she wanted it in HER contract. I'm sure Will feels terrible about how she feels.


The more successful Will Smith is, the more bitter she will come off. If she had went on to become an Academy Award and Tony winning actress after being let go from that show, she wouldn't be so angry about this now or she would at least be more careful about how much she chooses to speak on it. I have a feeling she blames this for later struggles in her career and seeing Will Smith get so big just rubs salt in the wound. I mean, she clearly has had an air of "I'm trained and take this seriously and you don't."


This reminds me of the Good Times controversy, where the attention became focused more on JJ being a buffoon. But I feel both ways about Janet's comments; good that she speaks her mind but she only makes herself look bitter after how many years? She is another talented actress who never received any recognition.


Regardless of how bad things seemed/were back then, she's only hurting herself by hoding onto this grudge. It's pathetic to publicly speak about it again after so long. What's even more so is that she's just mad because she feels left out; since she wouldn't have been considered for the reunion anyways. Who's the egomaniac here or the one who needs to grow up?


I guess this is about what each thought was best for the show. I suspect Janet had a more positive, aspirational feel in mind whereas ratings, advertisers and Will probably felt that the comedy came 1st.

Lord knows Fresh Prince could get so broad I'm surprised Spike didn't get up in its face.

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