‘That’s The Least He Could Do’: Fans Praise Will Smith for ‘Helping’ Janet Hubert Through Ongoing Actors’ Strike, Years After Ending Their 27-Year Feud

The ongoing writers’ and actors’ strike has affected many, including acting veteran Janet Hubert, aka the Original Aunt Viv.

Despite the success of her role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” she was recast due to rumors of a rift with Smith, who previously agreed that she was challenging to work with in the 1990s. The pair ultimately reconciled in 2020 during the sitcom’s reunion special, where Hubert revealed that she blamed Smith for the fallout from her career.

Will Smith reunites with Janet Hubert for the 30th anniversary of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
Janet Hubert says Will Smith has been “helping” her through the writers’ and actors’ strike, years after ending their feud on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reunion special. (Photo: @willsmith/Instagram)

But now it seems that the two are in a much better place. “You guys don’t go ballistic on Will anymore because we’re good,” she said during a session on Instagram Live. “We really are.”

Hubert said that as an act of good faith, Smith has been supporting her as fellow actors from SAG/AFTRA and screenwriters from the Writer’s Guild of America picket studios, protesting a litany of issues ranging from fair compensation to streaming rights to health care.

Related: Janet Hubert Watches Her First Will Smith Movie Since Their Reconciliation, Says She Wants to See More

Due to the strike, she had been unable to speak about past or future projects, as during the strike talent can’t speak on projects that are under contract and at issue. She added that the “I Am Legend” star has been “helping” her in many ways during this time, especially with her animated series “JG and the BC Kids.”

“You’ll be happy to know that he’s helping me. He’s helping me get JG out there and giving me support,” she said.

Hubert said she is “striking,” but she will not be marching or picketing due to recovering from a foot reconstruction surgery. She added that she’s had to call and “check” on her health-care benefits as a senior SAG member.

“The union is not really allowing us to go out and tell anything about what’s happening and why we’re striking. So people always think we’re all rich,” said the 67-year-old. “We’re not all rich and SAG, the strike is affecting all of us and it’s very hard not to be able to work.”

She continued, “Our residuals that we make on shows that we’ve done years ago, like ‘Fresh Prince,’ are not counted as income. But the IRS counts everything we do as income and so we are taxed as such.”

The “Sweet Magnolias” star explained that SAG members are allowed to talk about their independent projects but they must get “clearance” from the organization first.

“I will participate more fully when we are allowed to be seniors who are respected. ‘Cause right now, they want us all to go on Medicare or we’re just not even gonna give you health coverage.”

Hubert went on to share that more than just the actors and writers of film and television sets have been affected, noting “all the makeup and hair people, the wardrobe people, the set people, the carpenters, the food service people.”

She later stressed that she was happy the aftermath of her and Smith’s fallout died down, after years of claiming she was black-balled by the industry. She even defended him slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars over a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“All I ever wanted back was my reputation and my name and that’s priceless, guys. That’s priceless,” said Hubert.

Fans were excited about Smith and Hubert seemingly being in a much better place, though she attacked him and his movie roles in the media for years.

“Glad to know Will is helping aunt Viv!!!”

“It is good to see will Smith helping doing the strike.”

“That’s the least he could do. He wrongly fired her from the Fresh Prince, aided in her being blackballed and cancelled in Hollywood. She has never fully recovered from being crucified.”

“Good to see Will step up for his aunt Viv now that Uncle Phil has transitioned.”

The ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reunion aired on HBO Max in 2020, six years after the passing of James Avery, who played Hubert’s husband, Uncle Phil. He reportedly died from heart complications after surgery, but Smith credited Avery for pushing him to be the best actor he could be.

Smith also reminisced on their famous episode in season four after Smith’s biological father popped up in his life after being absent for years.

Click to see the full video here.

Back to top