Entertainment

#OscarsSoWhite: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star slams Jada Pinkett Smith's boycott

Actress Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has reignited an old feud with Will Smith in the wake of the Academy Awards controversy.

Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv on <i>The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air</i> for three years and had a long-running feud with Smith.
Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for three years and had a long-running feud with Smith. 

In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, the 60-year-old criticised Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her campaign against the Oscars, describing the couple as selfish.

"For you to ask other black actresses and actors to jeopardise their career and their standing in a town that you know damn well - you don't do that," she said.

Jada Pinkett Smith, who has questioned whether people of colour should attend the Oscars, attending this year's Golden ...
Jada Pinkett Smith, who has questioned whether people of colour should attend the Oscars, attending this year's Golden Globe Awards. Photo: Jason Merritt

"I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you're talking about boycotting just because you didn't get a nomination."

In a number of tweets and videos, Pinkett Smith questioned whether people of colour should participate in the Academy Awards after no black actors received nominations for the second year running.

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The feud between Hubert and Will Smith is understood to date back decades to their time on their 1990s sitcom, with Hubert calling Will Smith's Oscars snub "karma".

Smith was a finalist in the best actor category for his role in Concussion but did not receive a nomination.

Hubert referenced her history with the 47-year-old actor in the video, accusing Smith of failing to help the rest of the Fresh Prince cast negotiate a pay rise.

"I seem to remember at option time coming to you and saying, 'You know what, Will, you're the star of the show, why don't we all get together and with you maybe we could get a little raise?,'" Hubert recalled.

"'Maybe the network, since, you know, the show is such a hit and you being the star of the show, your influence would help us greatly, like they did on Friends, like white shows do.' Remember that?"

"And your response to me was 'my deal is my deal and y'alls deal is y'alls deal'," Hubert added.

Hubert left the show in 1993 and was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. The actress wrote about being fired from the show in her 2009 memoir, Perfection Is Not A Sitcom Mom, in which she painted Smith as egotistical. 

In her new video, Hubert also accused Pinkett Smith of being out of touch.

"Girlfriend, there's a lot of s--- going on in the world that you all don't seem to recognise. People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are hungry, people are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you're talking about some motherf---ing actors and Oscars?"

George Clooney, Don Cheadle, director Spike Lee and Selma actor David Oyelowo this week also accused the Oscars of being too white and failing to reflect the nation.

American civil rights activist Al Sharpton also called for viewers to boycott the Oscars broadcast, labelling it "a cultural insult".

Academy president Boone Isaacs went into damage control, announcing an overhaul of the academy while declaring she was "heartbroken" by the lack of diversity.

- with Washington Post