Will Smith reportedly turned down a chance to feature emerging drag queen RuPaul on his popular 1990s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The claim comes from Bel-Air executive producer David Steven Simon, who is quoted in a new book by journalist Thea Glassman, Freaks, Gleeks, and Dawson's Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed Television.
Per People, Glassman notes that while Smith did not typically reject ideas outright, he said no to Simon's suggestion of a cameo of up-and-coming drag star RuPaul.
“I remember him saying that would be a really bad idea...and I said, ‘No, listen, hear my story—’" Simon reflects in the book. But Smith remained firm and the "no" stood.
“The reason he would say no is because of his image. Period. The end,” Simon added, suggesting that Smith may have been wary about being seen on television with a drag queen. "OK, OK. We don’t need to do it,'" Simon eventually told Smith.
At the time, RuPaul had recently broken into mainstream music with the 1992 dance hit "Supermodel (You Better Work"), a video that became a classic of the decade. In 2009, he would launch the wildly successful reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race.
Reps for Smith did not respond to People's request for comment.
The 54-year-old King Richard star has maintained a relatively low profile since slapping host Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars, an incident that got him banned from all future Oscars events for 10 years. He is set to appear in a fourth Bad Boys film that began shooting this April in Atlanta. One of Smith's most acclaimed early performances came playing a gay man who conned wealthy New Yorkers in 1993's Six Degrees of Separation.