Alfonso Ribiero’s viral Instagram post featuring a mini-reunion of his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air costars has provided another opportunity for the original Aunt Vivian, Janet Hubert, to reignite her decades-old feud with the rest of the cast. Hubert originally played the show’s matriarch, Aunt Vivian, for the first three seasons, until disputes with both producers and star Will Smith led to her departure in 1993, when she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Hubert has apparently never forgiven her costars for the acrimonious departure and often takes chances to bring it up again.
Here’s a look back at her previous Fresh Prince slams.
The original replacement
Even at the time, Hubert’s departure from Fresh Prince was controversial. It came on the heels of a pregnancy that had to be written into the show, but Hubert insisted she was also the target of a “vendetta” from network officials. She even claimed in a Jet article that Smith was responsible for her firing. Smith, for his part, had some harsh words for Hubert in an interview with a local Atlanta radio station at the time: “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 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 Anti-Christ.”
‘There will never be a reunion’
When Hubert skipped a 2011 reunion dinner for the show, she explained to TMZ that she still blamed Smith for her ouster decades earlier. She did not mince words: “There will never be a reunion … as I will never do anything with an asshole like Will Smith,” Hubert said. “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.”
In 2013, Hubert gave a series of new interviews about her experience on the show. She called both Smith and Ribiero “bad kids” who did “some heinous, horrible things to me,” and told The Insider that after her ouster, she felt “demonized and beaten up and crucified for many many years.” However, in another interview with The Grio, Hubert indicated she was open to the possibility of reconciliation with Smith: “I would say to him [Smith], we need to heal this. You’ve done some things, you’ve said some things that were totally untrue and you know that they were untrue. I’ve said some things that I probably should have never said … I’m tired. Aren’t you tired, Will? We’ve got to come together and end this 21-year saga.” Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.
Hubert made it clear the bad blood had not gone away when she released a scathing video response to Jada Pinkett Smith’s public boycott of the 2016 Oscars in protest of the lack of diversity among acting nominees. Hubert made the point that Pinkett Smith and her husband benefitted from the exploitation of Hollywood, and brought up an anecdote from their Fresh Prince days: “I seem to remember at option time, coming to you and saying … ‘With you, maybe we can get a little raise.’ [We thought] your influence would help us greatly like they did on Friends.” According to Hubert, Smith’s response was blunt: “‘My deal is my deal, and y’alls deal is y’alls deal.'”
Still not a reunion
And so we come to the present. On Tuesday, Ribiero posted an Instagram with most of his Fresh Prince costars, with the notable exception of Hubert and the late James Avery. Hubert soon responded on her Facebook page in a since-deleted post full of harsh words for the former Carlton Banks: “I know the media hoe Alphonso Ribero has posted his so called reunion photo. Folks keep telling me about it. He was always the a– wipe for Will. There will never be a true reunion of the Fresh Prince. I have no interest in seeing any of these people on that kind of level.”