‘Fresh Prince’ actress Janet Hubert defends Will Smith’s Oscar jab: ‘Sometimes you have to slap back’

‘Fresh Prince’ actress Janet Hubert defends Will Smith’s Oscar jab: ‘Sometimes you have to slap back’

Family looks out for family… even when it’s the “slap heard around the world.” Following Will Smith and Chris Rock’s onstage incident during Sunday night’s Oscar telecast, the Philly-born actor’s own Aunt Viv — the original Aunt Viv, mind you — stepped in to defend him.

Janet Hubert, who played the role of matriarch Vivian Banks on the original Fresh Prince of Bel Air series for three seasons, hasn’t been shy over the years about her feelings towards Smith and her co-stars, the two recently reconciled in an HBO Max Reunion special. But it seems like mending that rift went a long way, as Hubert was unapologetically on the side of her on-screen son.

“So PROUD OF YOU!” Hubert wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of Smith giving his acceptance speech. “Yes, there is only so much one can take…sometimes you have to slap back. Celebrate the win…nothing else matters. Both actions were incorrect but Chris didn’t need to go there.” Hubert also went on to throw some of her own shade at Rock, finishing the post by saying, “Met him once…. it was enough for me…. very mean spirited.”

The tense moment between Smith and Rock occurred more than halfway through the 94th annual Academy Awards when Rock, who had stepped onstage to present the award for best documentary, made an off-the-cuff joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith referencing her shaved head. Smith then stormed the stage, slapped Rock, and sat back down before yelling at him, “keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.”
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images; Rob Kim/Getty Images Will Smith and Janet Hubert

Less than an hour later, the actor accepted his first Best Actor award for the role as Venus and Serena Williams’ father in King Richard. Smith attempted to apologize for his actions during his acceptance speech, saying “love will make you do crazy things,” adding, “I hope the Academy invites me back.”

As most of social media remains shocked at the incident, Hubert isn’t the only one defending the actor. Tiffany Haddish called the moment “the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen” and noted that “as a woman, who has been unprotected, that meant the world to me.”

As of now, Rock has decided not to press charges with the Los Angeles Police Department over the altercation.

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