Janet Hubert remains a fan favorite for her role as Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Despite her contributions to the 90s sitcom, Hubert maintains her firing from the show is due to her conflicts with Will Smith. Joseph Marcell, the beloved butler on the show, believes Hubert’s issues with Smith came as a result of Hubert’s jealousy of Smith’s role as the star of the show.
Joseph Marcell says Janet Hubert wanted to be the star of ‘The Fresh Prince’ and was jealous of Will Smith
Hubert considers herself as a true actor. She’s an alum of Julliard and an accomplished method and theater actor. Many of her former co-stars claim that she believed the show’s focal point should not have been Smith. Some also allege that Hubert demanded more in terms of pay and creative control.
Marcell says Hubert grew increasingly frustrated with the show, specifically with Smith being the star.
“The show is called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the leading actor, the name that comes first is Will Smith and that’s how it is and that’s how it should be,” he says in a new interview with Hip Hop Uncensored. “I feel that perhaps Janet was not able to deal with that.”
The relationship between Smith and Hubert became more contentious, so much so that Marcell says he advised both Smith and Hubert to talk it out. Smith allegedly went to Marcell for advice as he was considering firing Hubert.
“Janet called me and I said, ‘Janet, sweetheart, you have to look at it the way it’s set up. It’s Will’s show and he’s given you as best, I’m sure he could give you more, but you are the female lead of the show. You really are,’” Marcell says he told Hubert during his conversation with her.
Hubert was fired from the show and replaced with Daphne Maxwell Reid. Marcell says he later learned that Smith and the producers tried to reason with Hubert but were unsuccessful and that Hubert later regretted not compromising.
Janet Hubert blames Will Smith for her career troubles
Hubert’s reputation took a hit following her firing from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Rumors about her being difficult to work with ran rampant. She alleges that she was blackballed for speaking out about her experience on the show and for criticizing Smith.
“My life when you banished me and when you tainted me and when you put your poison in, you poisoned my entire world…Every time I try to have a meeting … every time I try to call Oprah for help, Oprah’s people would say, ‘No she’s friends with Will and Janet will never be on the show,” Hubert alleges in a 2018 video message to Smith.
Marcell does hint that there was pressure from his co-stars and people behind the scenes to speak negatively about Hubert in the aftermath of her firing. Marcell says he did not participate in any slander of Hubert.
“I will do nothing to cut Janet’s legs from under her. I will say the truth but I will not put the knife in her,” he said he told James Avery.
He continues, “I will not go to whatever meetings or debriefs and say terrible things about her because that’s not how I operate. She’s a worker like me and I support her.”
Smith typically refuses to speak about Hubert whenever he is questioned about her.
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