Janet Hubert, Will Smith's 'Fresh Prince' Co-Star, Defends Chris Rock Slap

Janet Hubert, who famously played Will Smith's aunt for three seasons on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has taken his side in the now-infamous feud between him and Chris Rock.

In a statement published on her social media accounts, Hubert commended Smith for his decision to slap Rock during the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday. She cited Rock's joke being "mean-spirited" as the reason for her support of Smith, whom she famously feuded with during their time together on Bel-Air.

"I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to slap the mess out of so many folks who have disrespected me," wrote Hubert. "Will stood up for his wife, Chris Rock is always disrespecting Black women. [Mean-spiritedness] hides behind comedy."

The support from Hubert not only means that the celebrity support behind Smith has grown but also shows an important step in the two's shared history. The two had a falling out during the third season of Bel-Air as her contract was changed to delegate her character Vivian Banks to a supporting role.

Although it was frequently speculated that Hubert was fired, she clarified during 2020's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion that she left on her own accord. However, tensions between the two sparked after she accused Smith of not sticking up for her despite his producing role on the show. Hubert claimed that her career suffered due to the falling out, although the two reconciled during the reunion.

Janet Hubert and Will Smith
Actress Janet Hubert posted support for Will Smith after he slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards. In this combined photograph, Hubert is seen attending the Tribeca fall preview of "Love Life" on October 24, 2021, while Smith is seen with his Best Actor Oscar at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 27. Photos by Rob Kim and Lionel Hahn via Getty Images

Regarding Smith's Oscars slap, Hubert elaborated on her praise of him on her Instagram account, where she posted a photo of Smith giving his speech after winning Best Actor for portraying Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.

"So PROUD OF YOU! Yes there is only so much one can take...sometimes you have to slap back," she wrote. "Celebrate the win...nothing else matters."

Although she defended Smith slapping Rock, Hubert maintained that what he did was "incorrect." However, she believes that Smith was justified in his actions.

"Both actions were incorrect but Chris didn't need to go there," she explained. "Met him once...it was enough for me...very mean-spirited."

"The person I want to be is someone who protects you," said Smith during the reunion, "not someone who unleashes dogs on you."

Newsweek reached out to representatives of Hubert for comment but did not receive a response before publication time.

Update at 3/28/22, 1:00 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information.