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Will Smith Defends ‘Fresh Prince’ Costar Janet Hubert After She Criticized Him: ‘I Think She’s Brilliant’

Will Smith
Will Smith Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

No bad blood here. Will Smith was asked about his former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air costar Janet Hubert in an interview on Monday, February 8, and he said she was “brilliant,” despite the fact that the actress slammed him and wife Jada Pinkett Smith over the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

Hubert, who played Aunt Viv from 1990 to 1993 on the hit sitcom before she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid, criticized the Smiths after they announced their plan to boycott the Academy Awards this year.

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“I think that both of the Aunt Vivs were really, really fantastic,” the Concussion star, 47, said during an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra, after he was asked who was the better Aunt Viv. “I think when you make a show, anytime you make a change, it’s going to be excruciating and painful. I think that Janet Hubert Whitten brought a really powerful dignity to the show.”

“I think she’s brilliant,” he continued. “I think as an artist, there’s so many things that she does: She sings, she dances, she’s like a really powerful artist. So I loved what she brought to The Fresh Prince.”

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Hubert, 60, criticized Smith and his wife in a four-minute video she posted on YouTube on January 21 after Pinkett Smith, 44, called for a boycott of the Academy Awards over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.

Will Smith and Janet Hubert
Will Smith and Janet Hubert in an episode of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ Mike Ansell/NBCU Photo Bank

“Maybe you didn’t deserve a nomination,” Hubert said to Smith, who was not honored for his work in Concussion. “You ain’t Barack and Michelle Obama. And y’all need to get over yourselves. … You are a part of Hollywood. You are a part of the system that is unfair to other actors.”

The 88th Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, February 28, at 7 p.m. EST.

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