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Sitcom Saga: TV Mom Claims Will Smith Was No Prince


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I find it ironic that she calims WS was the problem, yet Alfonso (in that video) said she was crazy and made it very diffucult for everyone towards the end of her FPOBA stay. Its also funny that Will is still in pretty much constant contact with the rest of the cast, yet as far as I know, Janet doesnt make much contact with them, if any. Surely WS's ego hasnt got them all twisted around his finger?

Her problem, not Will's.

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Yes, she claims Will was the problem, but everybody, even her, said that she was really hard to live with at the end of the show.

She said : "Someday people would say 'Hello' and I go 'Shut up!'"

I can understand that she is pissed off. But she have to stop talking about that and attack Will.

Maybe (we don't know) things happened, but I don't think Will could have totally ruined her career.

Will worked hard, he obtained what he wanted. Maybe she didn't worked hard enough to start up again after FPOBA.

This is my opinion, I think Will is not the good, and Janet the bad, but I think she must stop talking about that all the time.

Edited by Romano338
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*"I can say straight up that Janet wanted the show to be 'The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air' show. She's mad now, but she's been mad all along." -- Will Smith (1993), the Atlanta Journal Today, we continue our feature based on an exclusive interview with the 'Fresh Prince' Co-star and author Janet Hubert. Part I of the story appeared in Monday's EUR. Click here to listen as Hubert describes how Smith dealt with his growing discomfort around her.

Hubert says the older cast members, those who played the characters of Philip Banks (Avery), Geoffrey, the English Butler (Joseph Marcell), and herself, experienced many things that the younger cast members may not have gone through. When asked by Bailey if she got any support from her fellow, older cast members Hubert's authentic, guttural laugh implies a negative.

"Let me explain something to you about Hollywood Negroes," she begins. "Hollywood negroes are afraid to not eat. Everybody out there is so afraid that they're going to lose that job! And that job and that money supercede e-v-e-r-y, s-i-n-g-l-e thing in life! People in Hollywood, in my opinion, would step on their baby's face for a deal. If their baby is in the way, they will kick that baby out of the way for that money."

Television producer Winifred Hervey Stallworth, a highly-regarded African American producer in Hollywood during the 80's and 90's; an Emmy winner for The Golden Girls, and producer of The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and several other sitcoms told Hubert, 'Janet, you were expendable. You were a dead body.' Hubert says that although Hervey is OK today "Will did [a job on her] too!"

As fear would have it, Hubert says she could not even find a ghostwriter for this book. One potential scribe told her, "I've got a script sitting on my step right now. I can't go against that!"

So after writing several chapters and sharing them with her friends, her confidence grew. They began to call her regularly while drinking their morning coffee, in anticipation of the next scene. Eventually, still attempting to secure a ghostwriter, she showed the manuscript to another writer and was surprised when he told her she didn't need a writer. There was nothing he could do for her book that she was not already doing. The book is self-published and will be available via Hubert's website www.JanetHubert.com.

Hubert says she was a mess during those last months with 'Fresh Prince' - dropping down to 104 lbs. She had no milk to [breast] feed her baby anymore because she had lost too much body fat. She said Will insulted everything in her world, including her husband - who he knew was not employed at the time, saying, "Well, I don't know, he looks a little soft to me."

Standing strong she replied, "…Well, you might know soft, but that's not my husband!"

Hubert said she was totally alone. Nobody would call her. Even the cast disappeared. There was fighting at home before her husband left her. She was paranoid and even afraid for her life not knowing to what extent the Will Machine would go. "How could I fight? How do you fight a network?"

After her 'Fresh Prince' contract was not renewed, and Smith went on his alleged slander campaign, Hubert took her case to court, spending $98K out of her own pocket in attorney's fees.

"Will hid behind NBC's panties, I swear," she said, after she filed a slander suit against the actor and NBC. "There were nine attorneys from General Electric [on behalf of NBC] she continues, "who sat there and laughed, drank coffee and smoked cigarettes...Will would come outside laughing - even trying to be friends with my friends! Then they'd all go back inside as if it were some big joke. They'd be like, 'OK, [laugh] we're back' and I would be sitting there, crying hysterically."

Hubert says she had no intention of involving NBC because they had done nothing to her; but the lawyer she had at the time-who she became so displeased with, convinced her otherwise. "In fact, NBC had asked Will to stop, but he wouldn't," she claims. "They wanted him to stop with the comments and he just wouldn't. He went to Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta - every major market that we were #1 in. I have the tape produced by Benny Medina; and it's for promotional use only…I'm looking at it going 'for promotional use only'. Really… Killing me was a promotional thing? Thanks."

Hubert says that not only did she get no support on the set from her older fellow actors; she got no compassion at all from the media. She continues…

"No one stands up for Black women in Hollywood. No one stands up for Black women period. We don't get assistance from our own race…Not one Black radio station called me during that time. They joined in, they chimed in, [and] they enjoyed feasting off my dead carcass. They laughed and said, 'Oooh. Ain't this just like 'Good Times'?"

"Quincy [Jones] called me. He [smith] doesn't know this but I asked Quincy: 'Quincy, why is this happening?" Quincy said, 'Lord, lord, I told him not to do this…The karma on the show is going to be terrible.'"

Hubert said Jones confirmed that if Smith didn't want all this to happen, it wouldn't. That was the last Hubert heard from the man she calls 'The Big Q.'

In March of 1993 Hubert-Whitten's son, Elijah Isaac Whitten, was born; and she says her husband at the time, James Whitten, left them soon after her 'Fresh Prince' contract ended. This was also the case with many of the people she once called friends.

Following her exit from the show Hubert appeared on The Gilmore Girls, Friends, and The Bernie Mac Show following her leave from The Fresh Prince. But as the offers for work started to dwindle, she eventually left the industry altogether.

Today, it is difficult watching Smith on interviews "pretending like he is Mickey Mouse." She adds, "I'm tired of watching the charade…To sit on television and say 'I have a 100% approval rating, is just not very humble…I'm tired of people harassing my son, my family, and me."

With hurt in her voice Hubert says, "I've had sisters' sit behind me at events and talk about me like a dog…I was blacklisted by Black people. [Two years ago] I went to Tom Joyner and asked for help promoting my children's line. 'No!'"

When recalling her life some months after giving birth, Hubert said she would go into a store, and all the tabloids would have her face plastered on them. The customers reading them would look up just in time to get a glimpse of her and yell, "Oh my god, it's you!"

"Who do you go to?" she asks Lee Bailey. "…Quincy? Oprah? I love Oprah but I don't think she's there for the sisters that ain't on the A-List."

In trying to get support for one of her entrepreneurial ventures, Hubert says, "I had lunch with her best friend Gayle because I thought, gee, she's doing all these great things in schools. She would like this, because its quality… [Yeah] Right!"

It is widely known how much Oprah loves her buddies Will and Q. It is probably safe to assume, she won't be calling Hubert anytime soon.

While she looks absolutely fabulous today, Hubert has survived a number of health challenges over the years; including bouts with neurological issues; a cervical hernia and some dance-related health problems. A few years back she was diagnosed with osteoporosis and even lost her voice back in the 90's. On JanetHubert.com, she shares the vicissitudes of her life openly with her fans; speaking passionately about her work with young people, and her new animated series: JG & the BC Kids; a creation inspired by her own son; which celebrates the ideology of kids being confident and caring; and taking a bold stand against joining the sagging pants crowd. Hubert does a great voiceover as the animated lead character, JG, an archeologist who has "unraveled the mysteries of time travel" and challenges kids to "Take a dare. Be a square, 'cause BC kids are everywhere!"

But there is one admission on the site, where Hubert is speaking about the book that audiences may find particularly poignant:

"…I don't dance anymore because it really hurts. I don't sing very much because I got jacked after leaving The Fresh Prince by the entire Burbank Police Department, and I completed over 390 hours of community service in the river bottom of Riverside county with convicts while hiding under hats, no I wasn't doing Katherine Hepburn from the African Queen."

When asked by Lee Bailey why she did not tell her story earlier Hubert says, "Because I didn't think anybody really cared. I kept saying 'why would anybody care. They love him. They love him…They're going to think 'what a bitch, she's just trying to take him down. That's how Black women are…just hatin'…

I've always been such a private person, [but] it's too much to bear. I'm healed. I'm totally healed because I've got love."

Now this self-proclaimed M.O.M. [Mother on a Mission] takes off the "Difficult Bitch" tattoo but assures fans on her website that she and her TV character are not that different proclaiming, "Vivian Banks would snatch off her earrings and do battle with the best of them!"

She feels a sense of security today that she has not felt in a long, long time because her 16-year-old son, Elijah, will soon be safely out of the school system and headed abroad to attend college; and she and her husband, Lawrence Kraft, have made a home on the east coast; where she is ecstatically happy. When speaking of her husband, who is of Irish descent, she says, "He has my back, my front, my sides and my middle. He took us into his heart all scarred and bruised and battered...and he's the best daddy ever that my son could have."

In relation to their son, Elijah, who stands tall at 6'3" Kraft assures her, "I can't teach him to be a Black man, but I can teach him to be a good man."

"I'm trying to do my projects but I can't get past it until I deal with [this]," she confesses to Lee Bailey, and reiterates that this book, which talks about her life experiences outside of The Fresh Prince too, is not meant to hurt Will Smith; who she admits she doesn't know today but says, "The toilet has been backed up for a long time. The water can't flow to all the other projects until I remove this tattoo!"

Hubert says years later Smith made attempts to change the comments he had previously made. "He pulled a 360 …telling Ebony 'Janet brought love to that set. She made that set a home. She made it a family. Of course the show suffered from the loss of Janet Hubert-Whitten.' I was shocked at the turnaround… [but] it was too little too late. Who the hell reads Ebony magazine? I don't! It's not my mothers' Ebony."

Bailey can't help but chuckle at this.

"…And I notice [he] has been going back and stepping in his own poo," she retorts. For a while now he has gone back to the press and said, 'That's not what I meant.' But you must be careful what you say… Hubert blames Smith for 'destroying a family name' and on her website states she owes it to her father, now deceased, to clear the family name.

Claiming the backlash has made trying to do things in the community difficult, she states, "Every time I walk into a meeting I feel the mark of the beast. I've been branded. I've worn this tattoo that Smith has put upon me for a long time and I've decided its time to take it off.

Hubert says she reached out to Will Smith two years ago, when her brother, a high-powered attorney in Chicago, passed away from a massive heart attack on Thanksgiving weekend. "I called Will's production company [Overbrook Entertainment] and I spoke to an assistant…and I said…'This is who I am…I have felt this knot that I have to mend. Ask him to call me.'" She said, "I promise you, I am his personal assistant…I will get the message to him.'

I never heard anything."

Hubert tells EUR that, "with each page I write, I can feel myself being freer." She also says the only time she heard something from Smith's camp was when she left a message stating she was writing a book and would be using original deposition material in it.

She adds that she hopes audiences will not be ugly, and will understand why she needs to do the book.

Since so much time has passed, and wisdom has a way of altering our perspective on things we may have said, done or remained indifferent to in the past, we reached out to Will Smith and James Avery for any comments they might have in setting the record straight.

Neither chose to respond; an action that, within itself, may speak loud and clear.

But in 1993, the same year that Hubert-Whitten was replaced on the show, a young Will Smith is quoted by the Atlanta Journal 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."

Whether these words came from the emotion of the time or not remains to be seen. And posts documented on numerous sites since Part I of this exclusive was published, do imply a curiosity on how Smith might feel about the issue today; with some stating that if Hubert's words are true, Smith should take the high road and issue an apology; while others say, Hubert should just get over it and move on.

Yet not everyone associated with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air has chosen to remain mute. EUR caught up with Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey -- the English Butler on the show. Marcell, who is currently in London filming "Fever" a gritty underground flick about corruption, greed and murder, still offers that British eloquence; even as EUR publisher Lee Bailey approaches him about this 'not-so-pleasant' matter.

"Time is a great healer. My recollections [about the show] are pleasurable. Wherever I go, I can't escape 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'" says the actor who admits he is constantly surprised by audiences today that still stop him on the streets to acknowledge his role in the show.

"Life, as you know, is not a bed of roses. It requires concentration and application but, yeah, my memories are very pleasant ones," he continues. "I met some wonderful friends, people like Janet, and James Avery, Karyn Parsons, Alfonso and Will. And it's great for the ego; as an actor to come from a different country and do an American show."

Marcell's exuberance is apparent, even as Bailey hones in on the reason for the call saying "Well, speaking of cast members, you know Janet Hubert has written a book about Will [Marcell begins to crack up] and its not too flattering."

When Bailey asks Marcell if he is aware of the book the actor, who continues to chuckle says, "Yeah," [and adds] "He has a shoulder. He can take it! I don't think they had a pleasurable relationship. It somehow deteriorated over the years really."

When Marcell hears that Janet Hubert said she got no support from her older cast members, who were afraid to go against Will Smith; Marcell seems genuinely surprised.

"Me and Mr. Avery? Wow! Oh my lord, well, I don't think she'd say that about me. I'm surprised. For one thing I considered her a very close friend so that is surprising but you know, it's easier said than done these things. I don't think we were privy to Janet's negotiations with Will or with anybody, and how she chose to play it-it was really up to her. From where we were approached I think everybody though a conciliatory approach would be wiser. You know what I'm saying?"

Bailey confirms that he does.

"So, I'm surprised," Marcell continues, "…that she doesn't think I supported her. I consider her a really close friend and I couldn't, I wouldn't, do anything to queer her picture as it were. No, I'm very surprised."

At this point, Marcell even appears hurt; causing Bailey to wonder if he might have misquoted Hubert and her intentions. He [bailey] can be assured, he has not. This is, indeed, what Ms. Hubert said in her interview.

"…We have to understand that it is a buyer's market that we are involved in, not a seller's." Marcell explains. "And even if people do things that are spineless and annoying you have to understand the predicament that they're in. You know, for myself, I couldn't ask anybody to sacrifice their financial wellbeing…their career…to support me 'cause it's hard; it's very difficult to take that approach. I think for the other members of the cast, maybe time has mellowed them, and made the memories less painful. I…I speak for myself and in my case I supported her to the best of my ability…and I still consider her a very close friend and I have nothing but admiration for her. We have to make decisions for ourselves and our perception of how people respond to them…Sometimes we don't hear what we would like to hear vs. what is being said…Again, its important for her to exercise those demons and good luck; I just hope it has the value that she expects it to have rather than, you know, sometimes these things turn out to be a double-edged sword."

When asked if he would ever write a book Marcell says, "No, it's not my style…Books, like everything else, is a matter of perception, and I wouldn't be able to control how it is being perceived."

This is really gonna backfire on her!

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My thing is this...it was so long ago...WHO CARES?!?! It's hard 2 see FP in the light. If there is one thing i've learned over the years, it's that there is 2 sides 2 every story...and then there is the truth. Now how much of those sides lines up with the truth is one thing we'll never know for sure. I don't remember FP ever going out there and talking about the fall out between the 2 of them. I can't see the cast backing him if he was really acting like that and with negative motives. In fact, since the cast remains friends and supports each other and always back FP, it kinda shows that they aren't backing him just 2 keep a job...because they haven't had that job in over 10 years.

I think Janet has serious forgivness issues. She may have been given a reason 2 be mad back in the day, but it's 2009. Get over it. Her life and career are probably suffering becuz of that unforgiveness. Life ceases 2 progress when u allow yourself 2 not forgive someone. She is talking about a person who no longer is the person they were. She's letting it ruin her life. At this point, it's no one's fault but her own. She needs 2 grow up and get over it. Even if he did do all of those things with the motives 2 make her life miserable, it's been 15 years.

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  • 3 weeks later...

FPoBA did great without her, but without Will it would have been.. not so great.

Can you imagine FPOBA without Will? I can't.

That's why they stopped after the sixth season. They could have continued the show, but without Will it doesn't make any sense.

Edited by Ale
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