Why the hatred for Jaden Smith? It's the ugly underside of fan worship.

the-kung-fu-kidImage Credit: Jasin BolandWhat is Jaden Smith’s crime? Last weekend, the up-and-coming young actor, who will turn 12 this July 8, starred in a remake of The Karate Kid that audiences flocked to beyond expectation and, from all available evidence, loved. Given that Smith is front and center in more or less every frame of the two-hour-and-20-minute movie (and given that his performance, as a kid who hides his sadness behind a mask of surliness, is — to this critic, at least — a magnetic and affecting piece of acting), I hope we can all agree that Jaden Smith’s presence on screen had a little something to do with the movie’s success. Yet Smith’s rise has been greeted, in far too many quarters (including a number of comment boards on EW.com, like the one on my review), with bitter, gnashing resentment. This 11-year-old really has the haters foaming.

Excuse me, but what the heck is going on? Let’s start with the indisputable fact that Smith got to be in the position he’s in because his father is the biggest movie star on the planet. So where, exactly, should that piece of information lead us? Should we hate Jaden Smith? Should we hate Will Smith? Should we hate every young actor or musician who ever got placed on the map of fame because of his or her parents? (Take that, Miley Cyrus, Michael Douglas, and Jamie Lee Curtis.) Oh, but, of course, the rap on Jaden Smith is that he’s all nepotism and nothing else, that he’s a kind of grouchy preteen Tori Spelling in cornrows. He’s been excoriated as a bad actor (even though, just a few years ago, most viewers had nothing but praise for the appealingly feisty and precocious performance he gave right next to his dad in The Pursuit of Happyness). He’s been called a brat, a spoiled no-talent, an ungrateful beneficiary of his lineage of stardom. He’s been ripped up and down as “insufferable” for his appearance last week on The Late Show With David Letterman.

I caught up with the Letterman spot a few days after the fact, when the anti-Jaden anger was already at full boil, and so I watched it with particular attention and fascination. Here’s what I saw: Smith, seated opposite Letterman, conducted himself very differently from most child actors. Usually, kids in show business know how to present themselves as cuddly pets. Smith was having none of that. He has a very quick mind, and his responses were fast and a little brusque — from the start, he was toying with Letterman, putting him on the spot by giving him a lot less fake-nice, fake-sincere boilerplate chat-show banter than he wanted. (Gee, who in his right mind would want less of that?) It’s something that I’ve occasionally seen adults do, and yes, it was a little startling to see a kid this young with a movie to hawk go on the Letterman show and assume that mock-confrontational, who’s-really-in-charge-here? stance. But it wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t, in its way, a gripping little talk-show performance. (Letterman himself played at being taken aback, but also was taken aback; it’s always a good thing when Dave gets jolted out of his stuffy protective pose, his robo-irony.)

Bottom line, for me: Smith was cocky as hell on Letterman, but he was also interesting. For eight minutes, he displayed the confidence to be non-ingratiating and, in the process, he seized your attention. He was brash; he acted like a Hollywood kid who truly had a mind of his own. Perish the thought!

Yet in the online universe of Jaden Hatred, that Letterman appearance played as one thing and one thing only: privilege. And that, on the surface, is what the whole ragging-on-Jaden-Smith phenomenon is really all about — the desire to tear down a child who enjoys the perks of celebrity royalty, even though he didn’t earn them. And now he’s getting a movie career handed to him! You can almost taste the class resentment, the jealousy of folks who only wish, deep down, that they’d gotten such an opportunity themselves and now want to scrawl their rage on Jaden Smith’s image like Perez Hilton going crazy with his Magic Marker.

Still, what’s most striking, and perhaps revealing, about this particular outpouring of toxic anger is that Jaden’s famous father, Will Smith, isn’t just another big movie star — he’s one of the most likable movie stars you could ever imagine. You’d think that the general feeling about him, the nearly universal good will, would extend to giving the benefit of the doubt to his son. I know that when I watched Jaden Smith in The Karate Kid, the echoes of his father in everything from his cool, appraising glare to the nimble speed of his responses is something I enjoyed — like, say, hearing that raspy echo of Bob Dylan in Jakob Dylan’s voice back in the “One Headlight” days. It’s not as if this sort of situation happens every day; what would be so wrong with giving the son (or daughter) of fame a break and simply enjoying it?

It’s hard to shake the feeling, though, that too many people are trying to turn Jaden Smith from what he is, which is an insolently charismatic and hardworking young actor, into a focal point of ill will over issues of class, fame, money, and — yes, I’m going to say it — race. For let’s be honest: Doesn’t all the grousing about how Smith is “arrogant,” etc., carry a special, ugly tinge of rancor? Doesn’t the complaint that he’s too big for his britches come painfully close to saying that he doesn’t know his place?

What do you think? Has the anger at Jaden Smith gotten ugly? What do you believe it’s really about? And who out there likes him as an actor as much as I do? Now that he truly does appear to be on his way to stardom, what sort of movie should he do next?

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  • whatevs

    Sure, the kid is arrogant, but I don’t hate him. I would be too if I were him. Although, I’m sure I’ll hate him when he becomes an arrogant teenager who isn’t cute anymore.

    • Sabrina

      Watching recent interviews of Jaden, yes, he is one cocky little kid, but he is just a kid. I know Will Smith comes off cocky in his songs, but in his interviews he seems to be very down-to-earth, humble, even. I think the backlash on Jaden is that, unlike his dad, he doesn’t have a rags-to-riches story. Most people know that his dad had to work hard for all he has and even lost everything after the little bit of early success he had with Jeff (pre-Fresh Prince tv show). Being self-assured after working hard to achieve success vs. being cocky and born into privilege are two different attitudes and the latter probably rubs people the wrong way.

      • Lynn

        Cocky or confident?

    • bill

      the kid gives a strong performance, he was wry on letterman, and letterman’s great throw-away joke “do you smoke?” was evidence of how much he enjoyed jaden’s playful rebelliousness. what’s not to like?

      • Jane

        I laughed out loud at that line. I found my self laughing out loud a few times. The kid made a fan out of me.

    • XSE Drake

      Maybe it’s time for an article about how spiteful, cynical, and soulless many ew.com visitors’ comments are. I’ve never seen so man miserable people in my life.

      • talkin’

        I agree.

      • sarah


      • Becca

        I secondly agree!

      • Nat

        Its the nature of the internet…anonymity breeds incivility. Just look at any Glen Beck post on EW, like the one recently discussiing his upcoming book….while I’m no fan of his, its astonishing how quickly the discussion veered towards mudslinging.
        As for Jaden, I like the kid…he’s very talented and charming. With age he’ll be able to refine his interview style, like his dad….he’s only 11!

    • amj

      For some reason I didn’t have any problem with his interview with Letterman. He was right when Dave misunderstood his reason for saying that Ralph had named his son Daniel. It was funny and he seemed like any other Hollywood kid (dressed in stylish clothes, somewhat rehearsed, etc) but he seemed just a little more genuine and normal then most. Refreshing. I saw a few pages of the hatred and was blown away. I didn’t have much interest in seeing the new version of the Karate Kid just like I had no interest in seeing Hillary Swank’s version but I wouldn’t spew such hatred for Jaden. Wow. Surprised an 11 year old could draw such a backlash so quickly. Ease up America, he’s just a kid. And whoecver ripped on Corey Feldman..back off man!

      • Celia

        @amj: You should see the new version. Trust me…you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t look too closely, this new version is almost perfect. The original can’t be touched, but this is a excellent homage to that one.

      • amj

        @Celia: OK, I think I will give the new movie a try…the reviews are so great, I don’t know how I cannot. Thanks for the advice!

      • cracker

        Or was that blacklash he drew? Some of the more virulent haters seem to lean that way.

      • Kelly

        I too didn’t find it arrogant. Seemed smart and quick witted—just like his dad.

      • J.S. Fan

        Finally. Somebody who is realizing he is just a kid! All you people who think he is cockey, it is probably because it may have been his first time on a talkshow. I didn’t see his appearance on the show, but I just think he was trying to be confident. And be natural unlike other kids. So all you haters, quit hating on him just because he is cute, a great actor who has a career ahead of him, and because his parents are great actors also. So what if he’s privilidged. It’s not like he’s going around saying hey um priviliged and your not. And btw, some of you haters probably are racist.

      • Becca

        Yeah i agree 100% J.S Fan, people need to stop hating on a 11yr old kid…they’re pathetic haters…This kid is a good actor and yeah he is a bit snobby, but I would be too if my daddy were Wil Smith, LMAO!

      • amj

        I do have to say however that I saw him in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still and didn’t really care for his performance but on the other hand I didn’t really care for the whole movie.

    • matt

      i couldn’t get through sixty seconds of him on letterman before i said “ugh” and turned it off. there’s just something very smug about him. i think he’s just fine talent wise, but there are too many times i’ve seen him on talk shows were i just want to slap him.

      • Allison M

        Totally disagree. This made me laugh out loud – he’s very sharp

      • thin

        @Me He wasn’t married at the time, but thanks for playing.

      • max

        W-T-F does race have to do with it ELLA. Shut the f**k up with that already. It’s tiring.

      • James

        I made it to 1:22 before i had to turn little Wanda Sykes off. How insufferable can a kid be?

      • Me

        But you can watch a man who cheated on his wife.

      • Jane

        It was likely the best interview I’ve seen on Letterman. This guy has wit, a lightening quick mind and a healthy dose of irony — and he’s 11 years old! He’s the product of good genes coupled with intelligent & engaged parents.

      • ELLA

        What kind of adult talks – even jokes about slapping – being physically VIOLENT! – towards an 11-year old child he’s never met. a. Get therapy for your anger issues, especially those directed towards people – like children – who are less powerful than you are. b. Think seriously about if you would so cavalierly discuss your desire to physically attack a white child.

      • raven


      • Jane

        Well, maybe not slap him, but definitely put him in the corner for a ‘time out’. I wanted to like him but his behavior on Letterman was just bratty.

      • raven


      • James

        @ Bluenote… He Looks like a tiny Wanda Sykes

      • cracker

        Seeing jayden on Letterman reminded me of his dad’s cockiness, but without as much of the warm/ friendly connection to balance it out. Will’s had a lot more practice to perfect walking that line, and I think we’ll see Jayden develop more of that “friendly cockiness” as he gets more interviews under his belt.

      • Bluenote

        @James — “little Wanda Sykes?” Really? What do Jaden Smith and Wanda Sykes have in common (so much more so than any other comedian you dislike — I presume you see something similar about their presentation, styles, etc., otherwise, you wouldn’t have compared them. Right?)

    • Beverly

      This may sound silly but it’s his eyes…which he inherited from his mother. I didn’t see any of his movies or interviews but found myself disliking him. That’s not me, so it bothered as to why I had an instant dislike for a child.

      First, let me say that I dislike smartass kids … no matter whose child they are. Jaden Smith’s natural facial expression with his mother’s eyes, is smug and suspicious looking…kinda shifty as if he’s ready to attack. The fact that he’s kinda cocky only heightens the look. I’m sure that snarly expression will be considered sexy as he matures. Like, Taylor Lautner.

      Jaden’s arrogance is his parent’s fault not his.

      • SXiPPY

        While it may be his parents fault or his desire to emulate his father, the kid should be trying to cut out a niche all his own and realize that the public is going to look at him as he’s overprivledged, thus he should be humble vs cocky. Just the way he acted on the MTV Movie awards even was as though he had been in multiple movies and was as renowned as his father. And it was only him reading a telepromptor! I swear I was just instantly disgusted by the narcisscism he displayed. He doesn’t have the charismatic nature of his father, thus for him to be cocky really makes me loathe that he is freely accepted into an industry so many others struggle endlessly to get into, by just being the son of a famous parent.

      • Laverne Moody

        I was surprised at how much that I did not like Jaden’s Smith until I read some other comments,he reminds me of his NO talent MOTHER period.He HAS NONE OF HIS fATHER’S smile & Great ATTITUDE!!!!!

      • Elissa

        I don’t set much store by the Letterman impression. All these night time talk shows are loosely scripted–not word for word, but the performers work out ahead of time with the host’s people how the interview is going to go, what’s going to be discussed, etc. I feel pretty confident that the bits between Letterman and Jaden–what was going to be asked and the comebacks were scripted with the intent being humor. You don’t see that a lot with kid actors, because it takes a certain level of intelligence AND self-confidence to full off the banter and stay “in character.”

      • Ann

        That sounds like a profile to me. A stereotype. Judging a book by its cover. “It’s his eyes”!! What kind of statement is that? So do you dislike all of the other child actors/actress and/or singers based on their appearance? Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohand, Miley Cyres, etc., etc., etc? Based on your statement, I believe I need to throw out the race card. If he were, blond hair, blue eye, would you dislike his eyes then?

      • ace

        He’s a smart and confident child. America’s not use to seeing intelligent children in action I see. I can’t get enough of Jaden, he is so beautiful and talented. I look forward to watching his career develop. I just don’t get the negativity. I do believe it started with Perez Hilton

      • thin

        Because if someone props up a bunch of strawman arguments that have nothing to do with people’s gut reactions, they’re obliged to change their minds? My response has nothing to do with his so-called privilege, nor his family, nor his race, nor any resentment of his success. Mr. Gleiberman thinks his cocky performance worked for him, and I don’t.

      • thin

        I agree with your final line here, but not for the same reasons as you. I was one of the haters in the earlier discussion about his appearance on Letterman, and I stand by it, because he just wasn’t likable. His dad is probably the king of being the guy who is confident and cocky while staying likable, and it’s a tricky persona to pull off. I think Jaden was trying to do the same thing he sees his dad doing without being able to pull it off. It has nothing to do with race or holding a grudge against his success, he was just a kid who was too full of himself for me to put up with watching the night that he was on.

      • Katy

        I agree. Lord save me from kids-actors or not-who have obviously been told from the day they were born that they are just the cutest, most clever thing in shoe leather. I’ll pass.

      • Steakeyes

        Jaden Smith sucks because he’s just the next big thing the media machine is telling us all to like. He sucks in the very same way that Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber sucks. There is no real talent to juice out of these kids, just cute kids with half descent voices surrounded by the best marketing machines in the world.
        The interesting thing about Jaden is that his people would let him take a gamble as big as The Karate Kid was. That movie may be one of the most beloved movies of an entire generation, including my own and myself. I can speak from personal experience that when I saw the trailer, my brain immediately said,”No Myagi, No Daniel-son, No Cobra Kai? Count me out.” He has no place or reputation to attempt to carry a project of that magnitude. No I don’t hate Jaden Smith because he’s black. I hate him for the same reason I hate Shia LeBouf.

        He’s a douche who keeps ruining my favorite movies.

      • MHugisStupid

        Oh, shut up, MHug. This has nothing to do with racism, stop trying to play that old tired cr@p on here.

      • Emma

        WHY or why does everything have to include race?! REALLY? People were only outraged with Kanye West because he’s black (according to EW) and people are only hating on Jaden because “he doesn’t know his place”? Love him or hate him, let’s just leave race out it for once.

      • Keisha

        The bottom line is, HE’S 11 YEARS OLD! He should have some freaking manners. For the love of God quit pulling the race card!!! I am so sick and tired of people trying to put a label or attribute people’s reactions to some sort of phenomenon. MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE WE DON’T LIKE HIS ATTITUDE.

      • DiMi

        You are invoking racist stereotypes of African Americans (shifty, liars, can’t be trusted) that are hundreds of years old. What makes it even more disturbing is that you are too ignorant to know how racist you are. Shame on you.

      • Chev

        This makes no damn sense. He is 12. Really people? Are you all that insecure or unhappy with your lives that you have to pick on a 12 year old. GROW THE HELL UP! This is disgusting and makes me sick to my stomach that grown ass men and women are responding to a child like this. He is more adult than all of you.

      • raven

        To me,Ace speaks the truth,& nothin but the truth

      • Fallon

        Jaden favors his mother in looks and temperament. I don’t like his mother, Jada, though I adore Will Smith. It isn’t racism. That is just an ignorant conclusion by the writer.

      • Desmo

        Yeah Mhug all us white folk need to stop being so racist cause if your white then you have to be racist…


      • rayray

        hey u r right and also i know what u r saying and if any body ask i am 11 bout to turn 12 on july 8 and this has nothin to do with it but jaden is sexy fine and cute

      • etm

        Beverly, you are so right…

      • Anonymous

        Well I don’t like Letterman so I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Also, I’m surprised that even after all the points the author brings up that people are still going with their initial superficial reaction to him.

      • MHug

        That is the most racist and ignorant comment I have heard, since Obama got in office. Some of YOU people are so pathetic. You can’t stand to see a black child who is smart and witty and could probably talk circles around your simpleton selves. Get a life and take a look inward to deal with your deeply ingrained Racist, Bigoted ways. It 2010 get over it people, Black people, with brains, intelligence, wealth and PRIVILEGE are here to stay. Educate yourself maybe you’ll feel less inferior to a 11 year old child

      • Ari

        What a judgemental, small-minded simpleton you are!

      • Carolyn

        Jaden has beautiful eyes, like his mother. He’s a beautiful black, african-american child.

      • Colette


    • Sally in Chicago

      I haven’t seen This movie, I saw Happyness and he broke my heart. I knew then he would be an actor and a great actor. I think it’s the sign of the times and the blogosphere. He’s no different than the Mileys, the Connors (tom Cruise)…or a dozen other sons/daughters of movie stars….Kate Hudson anyone? He happened to take the camera, while his older brother didn’t — he’s a football player.

      I think the kid is cute and yeh, he’s privileged….so what? The bottom line is if he wants to be in the movies, first — he’s got a good head start; and second, he has to prove himself like everybody else and bring in the audience. If he does that, then what’s the beef?

      Does anybody have the link to Letterman show?

      • Lisa Simpson

        The boy is a little brat. His sister is an even bigger brat. His mother is arrogant. I pity Will Smith, as he comes across as a likable gentleman, albeit a henpecked husband. None of this has anything to do with race- I am from Rwanda.

      • casimir

        I agree. Jaden may be arrogant but I suspect he picks up his characteristics from his parents who are both extremely self-assured and charasmatic. Unfortunately, those traits in one so young is seen negatively. He is clearly older beyond his years and also quite talented. Many of the comments are so mean spirited you forget these adults are talking about a child. I guess he wasn’t so self assured, didn’t look you in your eyes, answer with confidence or did a young ‘step & fetch-it’ act: I’m so grateful, sir”, he would be more acceptable to some. That’s not who he is and probably would say as much if asked, which would pis# off the haters even more.

      • Sally in Chicago

        Oops me bad, it’s up there.

      • nikki

        bebe. your comment makes no sense. Why should children not be encouraged to “confront” adults? Are u raising a self thinking, confident individual or a “yes maam”?

      • Bebe

        “Smith was having none of that … his responses were fast and a little brusque — from the start, he was toying with Letterman, putting him on the spot by giving him a lot less fake-nice, fake-sincere boilerplate chat-show banter than he wanted … it was a little startling to see a kid this young with a movie to hawk go onto the Letterman show and assume that mock-confrontational, who’s-really-in-charge-here? stance”

        What you are describing, Owen, is classic child brattiness. And yes, not knowing his place. Not because of his race, though. (Nice of you to wave that flag, though.) But because he is a CHILD. And children should not be encouraged to “confront” adults. But you think it’s charming. Probably because you’re on the Smith-Jada-Pinkett payroll.

      • Hutchy

        Owen, this is the easiest answer in the history of answers: You found his Letterman performance “mesmerizing”. Most didnt. I personally found it obnoxious and entitled, baiting Letterman when Dave couldnt fight back, for fear of being seen as bullying a pre teen. See how easy that explanation was? I was one of the haters in the other thread, and I stand by every ounce of it. If that kid is insufferable now, imagine the groan-inducing narcissism 10 years from now. Race, in my opinion, has nothing to do with it. Over time, pop culture has realized that Kate Hudson has a ton of that entitled, Hollywood-royalty arrogance to her as well (read any interview with her and suffer through her holier-then-thou, “gracing you with my presence” ice queen demeanor). Tell me, how is Miss Hudson’s career progressing lately?

      • czzane

        Lisa Simpson, what is it exactly makes children, that you haven’t met or know, brats. Also, being from Rwanda is not a race!

      • AliFran

        I cannot believe people are actually hating on a 12 year old. Has society come to this? If that child vandalized your home or killed your dog or something it would be different. But he acted in a movie and you HATE him? This is the example of adult behavior this young man is given? I saw the movie last night and he was brilliant, the perfect choice to round out a very well made movie. And HUTCHY, you asinine tool, it was not about a boy getting his @ss kicked – if that is what you see in this movie you really miss the point and do not have enough intelligence or character to possibly judge anyone else, let alone a child. Thankfully, Jaden appears to have a good emotional balance, which is a lot more than I can say for those of you who need to bash a child to boost your own ego. Very pathetic.

      • raven

        i totally agree with you,& you really need to see this movie,it’s awesome

      • Holly

        I think he was just trying to be funny and joke around with Dave, but being a 12 year old, it comes off as awkward. He isn’t trying to be rude. And Hutchy you are a b itchy little b itch and you need to get your nails done or something.

      • Eddie Gin

        YOU sycopants would see any movie, NO matter what it’s about. YOU have the same following as any NASCAR GEEK. KEEP SPENDING YOUR MONEY WHO CARES WHAT HOLLYWEIRD IS ABOUT.

      • Erik

        The problem isn’t him. The problem is the casting. I have ZERO interest in seeing a film about a 10 year old getting his ass kicked and then finding redemption. It’s completely absurd. It was far more believable with a late high-school aged kid. With him? No thanks.

      • JaySin420

        Yea people need to give this kid a break. Any normal parent would do the exact same thing if they were in Will’s situation.

        I could see if he was getting his distant cousins cast as leads in movies but it’s HIS SON!

        Plus, the kid can act.

      • Joe

        the kid is pretty arrogant and I can understand that, if I were the son of Will Smith I’d have a “holier than thou” attitude as well.

      • flower

        I think the negative commenters are revealing more about their ugly selves when they get nasty and judgmental over a child. Boys of that age are just discovering “sarcasm” as a sense of humor. That is what a normal child would be like at that age. Let them be. As for the negative commenters, maybe you should think “why does that child bother ME so much? What is my issue?” Self-reflection may be a tool to help you become a better human being.

      • Sigil

        Wow, this is a little boy that you guys are judging!

      • really

        children are not little adults, except when they are child actors in which case they put in the hours and do the same process that adult actors do and when it comes time to promote a film you can believe they are expected to push it like any adult would. The difference between arrogant and precocious is a subjective shade of gray. I found him charmingly precocious and honestly, some of the arrogance people saw I think comes from the play in Dave’s reaction. When Jaden says he’s almost 12 and he’s been acting for six years, Dave responds with “So you’ve been acting for six years?” Of course Jaden gives him a glib “Yeah” and an eyeroll…it was a dumb question. If Jaden had smiled more it would have been seen as precocious, but because he has his mother’s flat affect, he looked so over it (the cornrows and little leather jacket could make him seem more austere to some people too just a matter of mental associations–yes possibly with race, people are quick to say it doesn’t matter but sometimes it’s a subconscious thing). Meanwhile, how bout y’all stop assigning personality flaws to this kid based on things that may or may not be scripted promotional appearances.

      • CmonSon

        Hutchy, you are an idiot and your argument is baseless. Lisa Simpson, you are an idiot too if you expect anyone to buy that your comment is qualified because you claim you are from Rwanda.

      • Hutchy

        Yawn. I’ll take my chances, Judy.

      • Judy_Dinch


      • $c$

        you really need to see the movie

      • Bebe

        Because children shouldn’t talk to adults that way. Children are NOT little adults. They are children. And they should not mouth off to adults until they ARE adults.

    • jenny

      all of u ar just jelus stupid people who cares he is just falloing his dream and plus i know i like him but if i hate him i wouldnot say that u all off u ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL U GUYZ AR THE MOST RUDE INRESPECTFUL PERSONS THIS IS TRASH U AR ALL JULUS CAUSE HE IS SHOUING HIS TALET 11 WOW ALREDY FAME THATS GREAT BUT ALL OF U ASHAME

    • shakyra

      I think jaden smith is soooo cute and that he is NOT all the bad things some people say he is. He is just funny and sweet!!!!!!!!

    • MrsDolly

      If his parents would tell him the truth, America would not have to.

    • lala

      of course he’s hated he’s only famous because of his dad

    • Rosa

      Maybe you don’t know many 11 year old boys. I do, as a teacher. Most of them are smarta$$’. I found Jaden to have a funny and confident personality. I think it comes from the confidence he gets from his very involved parents. From my experience, kids with involved parents have a confidence that kids with absent parents never do. Also, I grew up in a house with a bunch of smarta$$es. So I get it, and very much appreciate it.

      • Laura

        Yes I agree too. This was the first I’d seen of the Letterman interview, and he looked like a normal 11 year old kid (who has a slightly smart-alecky dad!) — and I enjoyed Karate Kid. For the life of me I’m not sure why I continue to read these blogs, as they seem to be written by people with lots of time on their hands and not enough joy in their hearts!

      • jules

        Exactly. He is a confident BOY. Has nobody on this board known, or BEEN a cocky pre-teen?
        I have a feeling most of you have been a little smart-a*s in your time. It’s human nature.

      • Lori

        Rosa is right. I am a fifth grade teacher and Jaden acts very much the same as most 11 year olds. I watched the interview and saw no trace of arrogance. He’s just a normal kid being himself. I guess most people commenting haven’t been around kids his age very much because I can’t understand the outrage.

      • DJ

        Exactly, Rosa. My son is nearly 11, and some of the mannerisms and expressions I saw in Jaden on Letterman reminded me exactly of what my son would do to get over his nervousness of talking to an unfamiliar adult. We did a volunteer trip where he was the only child in the group, and the whole week he acted like he was a little adult. Jaden looks like a cool kid.

      • Will fan

        My nephew is 12 and he’s even more arrogant, and annoying, cause he’s 12, and starting to become a teenager, or at least he acts like one. IT’S NORMAL… so give the boy a break, if he’s was an adult, I could understand you… but again HE’S 12!!!!!!!!!

      • Mary

        I’m a teacher too and completely agree. I’m easily annoyed by Hollywood types giving interviews and almost didn’t watch the clip after reading about it. Now that I have, I’m not even sure what about it came across to others as arrogant; it would be great if Owen Gleiberman had given specifics in the original article. Except for that silly stuff in the beginning about not wanting to sit too close, he seemed like a bright, articulate kid, much more interesting than the usual celebrity interviewee.

    • Rachel

      “Although, I’m sure I’ll hate him when he becomes an arrogant teenager who isn’t cute anymore.”

      Umm…If his older brother is any indication, he’s going to be cute as hell when he’s a teenager.

      • keely

        yall r so stupid wat makes u any better than him he’s just a kid he has his hole life ahead of him. leave him alone its not write to hate people u haters!!! im 11 too if i were him i wood probably be the same way (kinda).

      • What?

        @keely – If you and this kid are the same age, I’m praying that he didn’t also learn to spell by texting. Talk about annoying.

    • Huh?

      I just watched the clip, and I DO NOT see anything wrong with the kid. I thought he was charming, answered the questions he was asked and acted like a normal 11 year old. I’d even say Owen’s description was a bit off. Nothing arrogant about him at all.

    • rita

      wtf…he was completely adorable in that interview – yes, it was scripted and he tried to ad lib a bit – not arrogant at all…with the exception of the crotch grab coming out from back stage, i thought he was very poised and intelligent. he seems like a very sweet boy. he’s 11 for crying out loud – lighten up peeps!!

    • Sarah O

      Why do we have to bring race into this? I truly think, for once, that this is NOT about race. For a movie with an almost entirely non-white cast to be one of the biggest money making movies this summer, it can’t be about race. It’s a backlash against the fact that the child comes from money and privilege and had this movie updated and produced by his parents especially for him, after they saw how well he was doing in his martial arts classes. He had already shown he could act in Happyness. I don’t resent Jaden anyway, but this is one time I really don’t think it’s about race.

    • alex

      i haven’t even seen this movie but i saw him in Pursuit of Happyness and immediately thought he is very gifted. But geeez, give the kid a break! He’s 11! (to all the negative posters and press, not above comment)…

      • jadenisawesome

        you are right alex.i know im 10 so i really shoudot be judjing adults i thinkall the haters are just iealous because hey are as privileged

    • E

      Owen you worded it perfectly. “Doesn’t the complaint that he’s too big for his britches come painfully close to saying that he doesn’t know his place?”

      I think that’s the issue for some of the readers who may or may not be aware of it. It’s almost as if based on people’s comments that Jaden should be more humble because he’s privileged to be where he is as a BLACK child, instead of just as a child. If this were someone else’s child I think this discussion would be slightly different.

    • mytwocents

      cocky? come on, be serious! here’s a c-word: confident. he acted no differently than someone else with experience as an interviewee. i agree with owen–race is definitely a factor. nonetheless, the child simply has personality. how original in hollywood, especially for a person his age.

    • pop culture bystander

      I didn’t see arrogant. That is one cute, smart, funny little boy. I didn’t see smarta@@, I saw a youngster who knows what he knows.

      • Gaby Dagher


    • Moni

      How come the media (EW included) does not mention the fact that Will and Jada who produced the movie, went online and recorded a video last Sunday (on their way to the Tonys) to thank the fans for supporting their son by seeing the movie? One of the things that they said was that ” It’s scary when you put your kids out there in the world and hope that the world treats them good”…

      Well, based on some of these comments, the world is an angry place. Glad I don’t have children.

      I’m sure Jaden will grow up to be a fine gentleman. Haters always hate people who are well guarded.

      • raven

        there’s nuthin els to be said

      • Jane

        From everything I’ve read, he has awesome parents.

    • Nic

      Just watched the clip. Was obviously totally scripted. Leave the kid alone.

    • etm

      Jaden is an annoying name…

      • etm

        The only thing more annoying than the name Jaden is the way Raven types! @raven – I feel bad for you that you don’t know what etm stands for “ack ack”!

      • Mari

        I agree–so trashy! Hate these made-up names.

      • miss k

        Omg. Are you serious? It’s his name?!?

      • etm

        Hey miss k:
        He is annoying anyway, and his name makes him even more so

      • jaded

        Let’s just be real here ok?

        “Cocky?” “Arrogant?” “Entitled?” How odd those same words have been used to describe President Obama. Very interesting.

        Same hatred. Same words. Hmmm…what do they have in common.

        I didn’t hear that kind of talk about Tatum O’Neil. Or Miley Cyrus. Or Rumer Willis. Or any of the hundreds of children who got their foot in the door because of their famous parents.

        It’s so interesting how the rules are different for Jaden. The same as they are different for the President.

        But the truth of the matter is when I saw the word “thug.” That’s what it’s all about, right? That’s how you see all black people and when they don’t fit the stereotype you have it only makes you angrier. I wonder how you’d react if it was your child being torn to shreds.

      • @mitch

        why would you waste time responding?

      • destiny

        shut up dummys hes hot

      • Jane

        Can’t get more shallow than dissing on an 11 year old because of his name.

      • bake

        @ Colette it’s former NBA player now analyst “Jalen” Rose

      • mitch

        to “etm” – you hate his name? why would you even take the time to write something so simple minded?

      • wino

        folks, please ignore this idiot. he/she/it is just another internet troll.

      • Colette

        wow and Jaden is such an odd name …Mari…short for what? Marisol, Marianne, ..what’s in a name? Remember opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one and everyone thinks the other one’s stink.

      • etm

        So what if it’s a female version of Jada?? That means it’s not annoying?
        @ Colette: Britney Spears’ son is named Jaden and it’s annoying on him too. Who cares if the name is usually chosen by Black people? What does that have to do with anything??

      • Colette

        Jaden, is a name often chosen by black people, hence for example NBA player Jaden Rose. I think they picked it because it’s the masculine name of Jada…goodness your a TWIT!

      • etm

        Umm..didn’t say I hate his name, said it was annoying. Just because he’s a kid, I can’t be annoyed by his name? How is being annoyed by something simple minded??

      • raven

        come on etm,jaden is tha boy’s name,& u cnt change it,soo if u wanna b annoyed by it go rite ahead,cuz u aint gon make a difference

      • Denise

        Mmmm hmm, Jaden is SO much more annoying than, say, Pilot Inspektor or Zuma Nesta or Moxie Crimefighter or Suri. Get a freakin life!!!!! And from the majority of these comments, it seems everyone’s main beef with the kid is that he reminds them of his mother Jada whom they all seem to have an intense dislike. So perhaps they should quit with the transference and find a thread about Jada so they can aim their hatred in the right place????????

      • raven


      • Jada Smith

        ETM r serious?! This kid goes through depression every day with peope calling him a bad actor and a smug rich kid. Do relize tat tears kids down?! Now u make fun of his name? He just puts on a happy face for all the kds that love him but when he gets home he breaks down in tears. YOU R ALL MONSTERS!! I HOPE PPL R HAPPY CUZ U WRECKED A KID INSIDE!!!!:'(

      • E

        Couldn’t think of anything more clever to say?

      • dante

        i am 12 to i wish me and jaden smith was bros 4 ever i like the name jaden smith i think that its smart and rad and cool

      • raven

        & u kno wat etm,ur annoyin,& ur screen name aint helpin it,soo bam

      • Sam

        Yeah Mari, I totally agree! It like those people who take a name that ends in “Y” and change it to an “I” because they think it makes it special and cute.

        Oh…wait…never mind.

      • Sam

        Yeah Mari — I agree totally. It’s like those people who take a name that ends in a “y” and change it to an “i” because they think its cute. Oh wait….

      • Jessie Jones

        OMG how can you say that? Jaden is really cute and a great dancer.

    • jadenwho

      why would you be? there are plenty of actors in hollywood who teach their kids to be humble. unfortunately his parents don’t

    • JCS

      Let’s just say that if that had been my kid up there, I would have been mortified! But I don’t think he’s a bad kid, just came off as a little too wise-*ss for his own good. However, Owen, putting the “hating” on class and race is going too far, I believe. I would have felt the same watching the clip no matter who or what race the kid was.

    • Catie

      I didn’t see a cocky kid at all. I saw a child whose father is charming, subtle and funny. Jaden is simply working on his own flavor of that and, when he matures, he’ll be great. Can we remember Will Smith as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air? I’ll take hanging out with today’s Jaden all day over spending 5 minutes with the old Will.

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    • really

      It seemed to me like he was just being funny, albeit with a kind of dry and irreverent sense of humor…the kid’s just older than his age (with a girl it’d be described as precocious, but he’s a boy with cornrows and a little bit of a mannish swagger already) , and funny in a way you don’t expect from a middle schooler. Besides, just because he’s on Letterman doesn’t mean he isn’t still putting on a show. Meanwhile, I think it’s a bit immature for people to see a kid on tv and infer and then criticize personality traits. WE don’t know these people, only their public personas! Quit acting as though you are in any position to judge them. Buy movie tickets or don’t, but don’t become all holier than thou about how some kid you don’t know is being raised by parents you don’t know based on stuff that is scripted, edited and dubbed.

      • BlackIrish4094

        I personally don’t care for the kid but, as a parent, if you put him in a public situation / spotlight like this, people are going to feel free to give their opinions. The family is rich enough the kid could have done anything, he and they chose celebrity so this is the dark side of it which the Smiths should have been well aware of already.

      • Aly

        BlackIrish, that doesn’t make it any less tacky or classless of people to do it. There’s also a chance that a boy who is in chess club instead of on the football team is going to get beat up. It still doesn’t make it okay if they chose to play chess anyway.

      • chris

        Thank you. Well said. Give the kid a break. He was just goofing around for the TV machine.

      • Sara

        THANK YOU! You hit the nail on the head. We have so much information at our fingertips today, people can forget that they don’t know everything. Jaden is young, confident, and yes, a little sassy… on television. If he is in the public eye, we cannot assume that he is showing his true personality- end of story. So at that point, ripping into his “personality defects” is a waste of everyone’s time.

    • Ashley

      No i do not think hes brat or ungrateful or fiesty hes just a sweet kid who realy knows how to act and sing hes a great kid and sooooo kute! Come on now give the kid a break and give him his chance to shine!

    • Ashley

      Justin bieber does not suck jayden smith doesnt either so go get a life that goes for u misserable people who hate on young actors,actresses and singers i mean come on they act more like adults than you miserable teen star haters realy get a life!

    • HereWeGoAgain

      Alot of people don’t like Justin Bieber either but I don’t recall anybody pulling the racist card on that one. Assuming people are racist because you don’t understand their actins makes YOU (EW) RACIST

      • HereWeGoAgain

        oops, actions not actins

      • Sam

        HAHAHa Teaching posters how to “spel” on a Saturday night. Good one Tic..LOSER
        Anyway, people pulling the race card is never going to go away.

      • Jude

        Really TIC? Want people to learn how to spel and not Spell? Atleat he/she corrected himself, what’s your excuse? You call people a hill billy and yet you choose to call yourself TIC.

      • Tic

        Learn to spel, hillbilly.

    • patrick

      That kid is Cool. That interview with Dave was classic. The way he handled himself with such confidence and no (bs) or fakeness. We got to see the real Jaden talking just like he would with anyone else, not acting. Being in the moment! Staying in the moment. “Dave it seemed like you didn’t get it” that’s the funniest thing I have ever saw.

      • patrick

        Patrick you are right, you are Awesome!

    • Celia

      HOW is he arrogant?? I didn’t detect a lick of arrogance in that whole interview. He’s funny, charming, and such a genuine kid. Clearly Letterman and the audience thought so too, because they were both engaged and laughing throughout the whole interview! People are just seeing what they want to see.
      I just saw the Karate Kid and I’m officially IN LOVE with this little boy. He’s AWESOME, TALENTED, and SO CUTE!!! All the haters to the left.

      • JT

        I thought the interview was great. The kid is smart, witty, and engaging. Better than the boring interviews most adult actors give on Letterman.

      • underfor5

        I don’t see arrogance either. Can I suggest that if he’d delivered his interview with a smile, more people would recognise the same teasing banter his dad uses. The difference is Jaden is 11 and has braces (I think?) which he might be self-conscious of, thus no smile and people have failed to recognise the wit behind it.
        Definitely agree with Owen – don’t understand how people can love Will Smith and decry his son, when they are very similar.
        As for Perez Hilton… if he did start the hatefest, he’s not having a good week. I keep trying to find positives about Hilton’s place in Hollywood, but he doesn’t make it easy.

      • JaySin420

        People are crazy, I just watched that Letterman clip and I was laughing the entire time.

      • wino

        agree. im embarrassed for any adult that has hatred or digust for a kid. especially a kid that they dont know! this is all just silly. and yes owen, god forbid there is a black boy who is a bit sassy/sarcastic, because it turns quite quickly into arrogance.

      • Shannon

        I agree, he reminded me so much of his father when he does interviews. That same sarcastic, deadpan delivery. That kind of humor can be a little difficult to swallow from a child…especially when we are constantly given portrayals of kids on TV and movies as sullen, sarcastic, and smart-mouthed. I didn’t take Jaden’s attitude as arrogance, rather it seemed like he was just confident and comfortable there with Dave. This is a kid who has grown up around movie sets and talk shows so it makes sense that he wouldn’t be super rattled sitting there with Dave.

      • x]

        I agree he’s smart, quick-witted and soo cute. Im only 13 and I love this kid I don’t see how anyone can hate him.

      • Lynn

        It funny how when some famous people come off as assertive and confident, they’re looked at as cocky and arrogance.

      • miss k

        I completey agree. He’s a quick-witted, sharp, and completely adorable. How can people have such intense hatred for a kid? Jaden seems exactly like his father which makes him so likable to me. Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid are both great movies and I say good luck to this rising star!

      • raven

        Celia,i really agree with u,i just saw it too,& im n love with him too

    • andrew

      didnt see karate kid but i thought he was HORRIBLE in the day the earth stood still. he was ok in the pursuit of happiness

    • Beverly

      I saw both of these movies and he is very good. Karate kid was an exceptional movie.

    • BFD

      Oh my god, he’s joking with Letterman. If you can’t tell that, you’re an idiot. He’s a kid.

  • Karen

    Jaden Smith was terrific in the new Karate Kid. I love his sparkle and confident demeanor in interviews. He is a cute, talented boy and I’m sure his parents are very proud of him. People who don’t agree should keep their opinions to themselves.

    • John Smith

      Only your opinion matters? Talk about an ignorant arrogant a**hole.

      • hob

        “People who don’t agree should keep their opinions to themselves.”

        I think that qualifies as “a little bit.”

      • Candice

        That’s not what she said. Not even a little bit.

      • Dan

        The whole point of being an EW critic is having a forum in which to speak. Not to mention that EW is one of the few sites–besides HitFix–that not only asks their readers to comment, but often carries on discussions with their readers. I can’t see where your vitriol comes from.
        As far as the article goes, I haven’t seen the movie. But if the kid can act, he can act. Look at the Harry Potter movies. If you watch the first two, Dan Radcliffe is like an automaton, reciting lines with no thought to the meaning. Flash to the third movie, with a teen actor who understands his craft a bit better, and it’s like two different actors. Where was the nepotism there? His parents were nobodies, they were at the theater and a producer saw the kid and said, “Hey, he might be a good Harry Potter.” Child actors aren’t going to churn out Oscar-worthy performances regularly, nor should they. If the kid did well for his age, that’s all that matters. I don’t want to think about a bunch of kids in trailers, poring over a scene, getting all worked up so they can perform better. That’s crazy.

      • Erica&Jazmine

        Erica:o shutup u F***ING man HOR!! u betta hope i dont find you Jazmine:u r just jealous that he’s beter that u and cuter that u so shutup hahaha fyi u r a bitch

  • Jeep

    I haven’t seen the movie, and he seems like a nice enough kid. But I think the “hate” may be coming from the fact that his recent success is due to his parents and not to the fact that he is a “hard-working actor”. Would he have gotten these roles were it not for his father?

    • Leah

      I think it’s horrendous that the paparazzi and the public stalk these children as toddlers, slapping pictures of them everywhere and criticizing the way they dress (the way they are dressed?), and then when these kids start to become their own person and show personality, immediately turn on them. We can’t have it both ways – I think Jaden is smart and maybe still a bit prickly – but most 11 or 12 year olds going through their awkward stage don’t have to do it in front of America!

      • mar

        agree – a typical kid that happens to be bright and maybe a little abrasive…but he’s 11 gang!

    • Holden

      I guess we’d better take that Oscar away from Jeff Bridges. How dare he listen to his parents’ encouragement, work on his father’s TV show as child, and eventually build a career of his own?

      • TJ

        …and it doesn’t sound any more insightful the second time around.

      • Karen

        well, said, Holden….I hardly think Will and Jaden Smith are in the same league as Lloyd and Jeff Bridges…

      • @Holden

        You’re repeating yourself.

    • Candace

      First of all, for all of you grown ass people to espouse hatred for a child is vitriol in and of itself. With that said, there is a bit of cockiness that seems to exude from Jaden, and as adults, we tend to find disdain when we see a child “trying” to act grown. Secondly, Jaden has talent – the only colloquialism is true “WHO you know gets you in the door, WHAT you know keeps you there” – this is true for any other industry and why should it be different here.

      • teekay

        Agreed. I haven’t seen Jaden act, so can’t comment on that but after watching the Letterman interview; the impression I have is Jaden was trying a little too hard to be funny and not always succeeding. Besides, When Letterman asks him about the smoking, Jaden almost bursts into laughter and in that moment he’s a kid, being himself. Anyway, I had my annoying pain in the a$$ moments when I was his age too; I’m pretty sure most of us did.

      • Christine

        Very well said. Is he cocky? Sure. But that’s not enough to make me hate him. There’s no denying that the kid’s got talent. So what if his Daddy helped get him into the movie biz? He’s GOOD. And The Karate Kid was a solid movie. As far as I’m concerned, Will Smith did us a favor.

    • Laura

      Would he have gotten this role if his dad was Will Smith and he hadn’t already devoted half of his young life to martial arts? Give the kid some credit for earning a role without daddy’s help. Any time I hear anger over some celebroyalty getting “special” consideration, it usually stinks of jealousy. Sometimes the anger is well-placed since we have way too many kids of the famous doing nothing but being infamous. I don’t know if this kid is arrogant or not. He may come off as standoffish, but I personally don’t care. Give him some time to grow up and find out who he is before you slap a label on him.

      • BlackIrish4094

        He didn’t “earn” the role without daddy’s help, the parents bankrolled the picture so they took the financial risk which guaranteed the studio giving theit son his undeserved starring role.

    • Colette

      what kind of nonsense is that …if you are bad it doesn’t matter who your parents are. Drew Barrymore comes from a lineage of great actors, that doesn’t make her great or bad we decide by watching the movie then we critique the work. But it seems to me people haven’t even bothered seeing the performance or the hard work before panning it …I just don’t get the Twit parade on this blog.

    • Muffy

      This why famous people who are kids of another famous people try so hard to prove themselves, it’s because people never give them credit. Some people have long history in the business. i.e. The Fondas, Houstons and Barrymores.

    • cc

      How about all those actors and actresses in Hollywood who are cast because they are “pretty”, not talented or hard-working. That’s more offensive, in my opinion. When I pay money to go see a movie, I at least hope the actors are good. A talented kid at least deserves a chance. Should Jaden avoid acting if he enjoys it and is good at it? Thanks to his dad he’ll always have connections, whether he acts or not. It’s his life. Besides, Hollywood is built on connections. It’s also built on recognition. Why criticize Hollywood studios for cashing in on not only a talented kid, but one with a name? Unknowns are a bigger risk. At the end of the day, if the audiences enjoy the movie, why do they care so much *how* the kid was cast (even though I bet he gave the best screen test).

      • Holden

        Should we take that Oscar away from Jeff Bridges because he had a famous father?

      • Diva

        Prettiness can only take you so far. At one point you will be based on talent.

      • amj

        @Rebecca–I agree completely! And to add another–Ben Stiller.

      • Anderson

        Diva please see Megan Fox career. She can’t act yet she has been in at least 4 movies all based on her being pretty.

      • HoldenisStupid

        No, becuase Jeff actually worked for it and payed his dues. Can’t say the same about Jaden yet. Time will tell.

      • Anderson

        Elli great minds think alike. wink wink

      • Will

        FINALLY some people who agree that Megan Fox is talentless!

      • Rebecca

        Jeff Bridges got his start because of who his father was (Lloyd Bridges). Same as Emma Roberts (Eric Roberts and by extension, Julia Roberts), Angelina Jolie (John Voigt), Michael Douglas (Kirk Douglas), Liza Minelli (Judy Garland), Kate Hudson (Goldie Hawn), Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks), Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard), Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep), Joely and Natasha Richardson (Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Richardson), Gwyneth Paltow (Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner); Keifer Sutherland (Donald Sutherland); Carrie Fisher (Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds); Charle Sheen and Emilio Estevez (Martin Sheen); Isabella Rosellini (Ingrid Bergen); Jamie Lee Curtis (Tony Curtis); Jane and Peter Fonda (Henry Fonda); Troy Garrity (Jane Fonda); Bridget Fonda (Peter Fonda); Sean Astin (John Astin – Gomez in Addams Family); Tori Spelling (Aaron Spelling) to name a few. My point is, don’t get all up in arms about kids parlaying their famous family connections to advance in Hollywood. It happened (and will continue to happen). Those studio heads and casting directors know exactly what their doing by having the kids of famous (established ) actors associated with their movies.

      • Elli

        Anderson – I was just about to use the exact same example! Megan Fox automatically comes to mind when you think about working actresses without talent haha.

    • Celia

      He’s actually REALLY talented. I was shocked, because I’ve only seen him in small supporting roles. Jaden can ACT his ass off. His parents obviously support him, but I’m sure his TALENT also has a lot to do with his increasing success. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.

      • Cindy

        Just saw the film yesterday and liked it very much, but had no idea of the backlash against the kid. The bottom line is, yes he can act, I think he’he’s a natural, like “Hello”, maybe it’s good genes people?! Saw him on The View and he’s comically self-confident, bright and articulate. What would you expect from Will Smith’s son?

    • bkwurm1

      Yes, his connections got the movie green-lighted and also set him up as the star, but I think people are naive if they think any studio would bankroll a movie if they thought the lead actor was not going to do good enough job. Plus, now that the movie has come out the audiences have put their money on the line and for the most part said yes, he delivered. Who his parents are may have gotten him in the door but talent and a work ethic are what made the movie.

      I do think some of the hate stems from people being ticked off that everything that was once beloved is redone and recycled and in this case, they lay that anger on Jaden because they assume The Karate Kid was only remade becaue he needed a good vehicle to really launch his career.

      I say this level of critisim and bile coming from adults is terrible and sad and misplaced.

      He’s not shy and is full of swagger and confidence. This is a good thing! What would people say if Will Smith’s kid was a frightened submissive little publicity puppet?

      He’s not a mean child. He’s not cruel. He’s not stealing things or breaking things or telling lies. His only crime is believing in himself and tweaking David Letterman.

      Oh, and not being even remotely poor.

      • mikey

        The new version is more entertaining than the original. Jaden is a natural.
        But the studios did not bankroll the movie. His parents did.
        People have the right to be jealous of his good fortune. But that’s life.
        He did bring the haters out by being cocky and show little respect for Dave.
        There’s a difference between being confident and cocky. He has a lot to learn. But he’s only 12.


    • wrangler

      Quite frankly, I think the kid is a brat but so what if he got that part because of his dad. I don’t understand why people are hating because he’s riding on his dad’s coat tail. HELLO! He’s 12.. What did you want Will Smith to do? Throw him out on the street and expect him to succeed on his own. Isn’t that why parent work hard so that their kids don’t have to. I mean he was in that film on his own, I sure as hell didn’t see Will Smith talking and moving Jaden around like he was puppet.

      • Aly

        to clarify, I don’t blame the students either. It’s the system and our culture that are the problem. The fact of the matter is, Will and Jada are in what appears to be a loving committed marriage and they take an active interest in their childrens’ lives which is more that can be said of a lot of parents, celebrity or otherwise.

      • Aly

        Child actors still get educations. When they aren’t in an actual classroom, they are receiving one on one instruction or small group instruction with a tutor. I’m not even an actor but I intend to home school my children the first few years because I’m a licensed teacher and the current state of education is a joke (usually through no fault of the teachers despite popular misconceptions.) I don’t want their education impaired because teachers have to waste 50% of class time on behavior problems because of the general lack of respect in our culture. I’ve taught 8 year olds with more attitude in their little finger than Jaden has in his whole body.

      • raven

        i agree,but plzz dnt call jaden a brat,u only c wat the media & other ppl c,if u saw wat his family saw,dat hole opinion wuld change

      • teresa

        I expect an 11 year old to be in school.

    • Anita

      So what if he is getting his breaks because of his parents? Is he suppose to just sit back and do nothing because his parents are famous? I don’t care what industry you are in, if you are a parent, you are going to try to help your kid be successful.

  • Poo

    He’s a snotty little brat.

    • rae

      How do you know that he is a snotty little brat? Have you met him, went to school with him, know his parents? What? People are hating on a child that they have never met personally, but then again his dad went through the same thing early in his career. It will pass.

    • Sally in Chicago

      What I saw from the clip was a very witty, super-smart kid….good education, good genes.

      • tommy girl

        I agree with you! He is well spoken, quick witted and poised. What did you want to see? Any kid who is a good actor is not going to act like a “normal” kid. He is good with words because he is an actor and he hangs with smart, cool people. Give the kid a break!

  • B

    I dont know why people hate him but they shouldnt he’s 11 for gosh sakes! I saw him on Oprah with the whole fam and his sense of humor is great and just like his Dad’s. I haven’t seen Karate Kid but see him as being very successful.

    • raven

      shutup darrell,hav u eva met will smith,do u kno him personally,well i say u dnt,sooo u really dnt hav the rite to call anybody an idoit

    • Darrell

      His dad is an egotistical idiot…

      • rae

        Don’t be mad because your life went one way and his went another and he is one of the most famous people in the world.

      • Niix Starkyller

        Having the privilege of observing him behind-the-scenes, I am going to have to whole-heartedly disagree with you. When the cameras are off, Will Smith is a warm, humble, and intelligent person. Considering his ridiculous success, that is remarkable.

    • Viv

      I agree with you. I like him. There’s nothing wrong with being self assured. I think he is quite funny and that the interview was very entertaining. Unfortunately what is in vogue these days is vulnerability and pathos.

  • halfpint

    i’ll tell you what it is. he is the embodiment of the general impression i get that most kids now are completely over-indulged. plus, he seems like a douchebag.

    • Benoreno

      A douchebag at 11? Really?

      • wakeforcer

        If you attended public schools as a child, and aren’t aware that there are many douchebags that age, chances are you were one of the douchebags.

      • Benoreno

        Actully at 11, I was put in a foster home because my mom died and my father had sexually abused me. Have a nice day!

      • ace

        Sorry about that Benoreno, just realized that you were responding to halfpint and wakeforcer’s comment

      • ace

        thus the jealousy, sorry about what happened to you though,

    • harry


    • rae

      This is an 11 year old child that your dumb hateful @ss is calling a douchebag! You embecile!

  • Wayne Jordan

    I’m glad this article has been written since I too have been wondering why the hatred and you’ve expressed my view exactly. It’s sad that we live in a world that’s so devoid of human emotion that people are willing to rag on a 12 year old boy who at this age had more talent in his little finger than all the haters.

    I saw The Karate Kid on Wednesday and laughted, cheered, shouting and shed a few tears…

    • cusegirl

      I am with you Wayne. I also saw “Karate Kid” and I really liked it. Jaden has some serious acting talent and to all the naysayers give this young man a chance. I for one do not care that his parents are Will Smith and Jada Smith. There have been many moviestars who have had talented children who have made it so why shouldn’t this young man have the same opportunity.I saw him on Letterman and than the next day I read the back lash and thought WHAT. It was so obvious he was “toying” with Dave. The fact that it took Letterman by surprise was rather refreshing and I am a huge Dave fan.

    • please, don’t talk about “haters”. people who have a different opinion about someone/something than you aren’t haters, so unless you’re 11 like jaden, knock it off.

      • Katyo

        I also don’t get why people are so up in arms over this kid, but calling someone a brat is not ‘hate’ or ‘violent’. Sheesh. People on both sides of this so-called debate need to simmer down with the knee-jerk reactions.

      • harry

        are you that serious? when people like halfpint,Poo, who call Jaden a “snotty little brat” or a “douchebag”, how can you not see the hate.

      • bkwurm1

        It’s fine to have a difference of opinion on something like talent but when people violently rip to pieces the character of a small child they have NEVER met in real life that goes far beyond mere opinion and the hateful talk becomes a reflection of the person spewing the severe condemnation, the hater. Keep it civil, keep it sane and no one will point the finger back at you.

  • Ethan

    Reading this, I just watched the interview. I liked him! He was nervous, and he just didn’t smile – I feel like if he laughed or smiled a little, people would find more charming. But who cares? I’m amazed anyone could dislike an 11 year old so intensely, he’s just a kid in the spotlight.

    • Sandy

      I just watched the Letterman interview, and I thought he handled himself well–smart and very charming. He wasn’t being mean or anything, just a smart aleck. He reminds me a lot of the characters I see on Disney and Nickelodeon shows. I don’t think his personality is anything unusual for this day in time.

  • Peppy

    Saw the movie and thought he was great in it. I don’t think any other child actor chould of done a better job.

    • Celia

      Completely agree. He has such great charisma. He made the audience care about him instantly and that gave the movie so much heart. I love this kid.

  • Katie

    I had no idea that people were that critical of Jaden Smith, and I am truly sorry that supposed “grown-ups” can’t act that way: grown-up. My only reservation about the movie and Jaden SMith being in it is that I think he’s too young for the role (as would any 11 year old) because in my head it is a teen-age story. But I plan on taking my 8 year old son to it and fully enjoying myself, especially the undeniable rightness of Jackie Chan as Mr. Miyagi.

  • To Owen

    If you want a clearer explanation, here goes: Two Films Does Not A Star Make. His “look at me, ain’t I great?” attitude is a big turnoff. As for his next movie may I suggest the next “Saw”…as one of the characters that doesn’t make it to the final scene?

    • Elli

      He should be proud of what he’s done at such a young age — who wouldn’t be in that position? No one’s saying he should win an Oscar or anything. Most of us are saying his done quite a good job in the films he’s been in and has demonstrated himself to be a talented young actor with a lot of potential.

      • clark

        He hasn’t done anything to be proud of. His parents buy him parts in movies. He get’s no credit

      • jennrae

        I agree. His parents bought him this role just like they bought Jada’s terrible nurse show on TNT. They have their fingers in a lot of pies, and seem to prefer quantity over quality, because none of their ventures have been particularly great, just mediocre to good. I also can’t stand hearing about their sex-life. The way they have to talk about it all the time leads me to believe they are one of Hollywood’s infamous “bearding” couples. And that’s fine, I guess, if you like people who pretend to be something they’re not in order to make money.

    • Celia

      What “look at me, ain’t I great attitude?” He’s 11 YEARS OLD!! What’s wrong with these people? It’s called COMEDY!! His father does it. It’s natural that Jaden would follow suit. He doesn’t have an attitude at all! So what if the kid is confident?! Do you want him to walk around like he has no self-esteem and doesn’t think he’s a great actor?????
      THe kid is really talented and he probably knows it. But he’s not arrogant in the slightest. Every single thing he did in that interview was hilarious. He’s got great comedic timing just like his parents.

    • X

      Hollywood was pushing the talentless Sam Worthington as a the next big thing after one movie. The man can not act but women will say I can only like an actor I think is hot so Worthington will get work. Cris Pine same thing. Zoe Saldana for the men same thing. After one movie Hollywood acted like she was the biggest star in the world. Never mind Avatar a bad film would be a hit without her anyone could have played her part. Have you ever heard of the A-team why was the A-team changed to be all about Faceman because after one movie The hangover Hollywood decided that Bradley C is the next biggest thing. Without him proving it in many films.

      • Marty McFly

        Zoe Saldana has been in several movies. Like Pirates of the Caribbean and Drumline.

      • wakeforce

        X is an idiot! Who made you. a F**kin acting teacher? Avatar didn’t need a great actor to play those roles. It is a special effects- driven films.
        Bradley Cooper has been in more movies than the Hangover. He has been consistent in a number of films. That’s why he was given a starring role in the A-Team.
        Sounds like you have a vendetta against good-looking actors. Jealous much?

      • Sandy

        I saw the A-Team today, and it wasn’t all about Faceman. All the principal characters were up front the entire movie.

      • miss k

        And Guess Who, Star Trek, The Terminal, and Vantage Point.

      • jennrae

        And Center Stage. Zoe Saldana is hardly new to the acting business.

    • Walt

      I think you mean “Two Films Does Not Make a Star”… He’s 11 and just made back more than the films budget in opening weekend. That is plenty of reason to say “look at me, ain’t I great?”… His first lead role in a film made more in opening weekend than half of his dad Will Smith’s blockbuster films did in theirs. It’s an accomplishment, and he IS great. He has every right to be proud of himself. He may not have worked hard to GET the role, but he worked hard to PLAY the role and he did a damn good job worthy of praise.

      • Nick

        You’re kidding yourself if you think Karate Kid’s box office gross had nothing to with the title of the film. Why do you think they didn’t properly name it Kung Fu Kid? Because Karate Kid is a recognizable brand. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been successful otherwise, but probably not as successful.

      • bkwurm1

        “Two films does not a star make” vs “Two films does not make a star.”

        Walt, the “does not a star make” is just part of an expression and not a grammatical error.

      • clark

        The success of this movie has more to do with the original 80’s movie, than it does to Jaden Smith. They should have launched his career with something original. Then you could give him some credit for its success.

      • AliFran

        Have you seen the movie? It can certainly stand on it’s owm merit. Lots of people, especially young people never saw the original and this is a valuable story – not about fighting, but about taking control of your fear and working hard for a goal. I would sure rather see our children watch this film instead of some of the current blockbusters featuring grwon men turning pool water blue with their pee.

      • Karen

        Actually, BOTH versions are grammatically wrong, because “two films” are plural. Therefore “does” is wrong. You can say, “Two films do not a star make” or “Two films do not make a star,” but you can’t use “does” for either one of them.

  • Jeremy DC

    That is such a lame direction to go into when you bring race into the equation. It’s like you want to make this an important situation that needs to be discussed. The kid annoys me in interviews and in movies. I saw The Day the Earth Stood Still which wasn’t a good movie and I thought he was the worst part. People don’t like certain actors and that’s fine. Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe to name a couple and at least you can say they earned their fame and worked their way into Hollywood. They didn’t make it because their daddy was the biggest star in the world.

    • Holden

      Tom Cruise’s kid has a role in the “Red Daw” remake — and he probably didn’t have to go through a rigorous audition process.

    • Ashtrash

      I agreed with everything the author wrote until he played the race card. Really? That thought hadn’t even crossed my mind! Can’t we get past that yet? Oh wait, no, because articles like this bring it up. I think you either like the kid or you don’t – personally I like him. I don’t like him nearly as much as I adore his dad, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s proven himself So far and because his parents are classy NOT because of the color of his skin…

      • Elli

        We aren’t past it yet because racism still exists. Just because some people claim to be colorblind doesn’t mean they actually are. And so a special accusation of “entitlement” against a young black kid should certainly raise a warning flag when such a sentiment has frequently arisen in the troubled racial history of the U.S.

      • M

        Read the comment about Jaden’s “shifty eyes” and explain to me how, for that commenter at least, race does not play a factor in the assumptions people are making about this kid. I wish people were not racist, but sadly, we are not there yet.

      • dee

        Asking a question about race is not “playing the race card.” As a matter of fact, accusing someone of “playing the race card” is often an attempt to shut down legitimate conversation.

      • wakeforce

        Read some of the statements made about Obama, and tell me race doesn’t play a part of SOME of that resentment. Unfortunately, the only people that can be allowed to “play the race card” these days are white folks.

      • Ashtrash

        …but I do agree it was a very refreshing article to read, so well done. (And I feel free to hate on Miley Cyrus because of who she has expressed herself to be, not because of her lineage.)

      • Marianna

        this comment is astoundingly ignorant. the author didnt write a whole paragraph on race, just two lines. just because you’d like to pretend that racism doesn’t exist any more doesn’t mean that someone is ‘playing the race card (which is a expression made up by people who want to disregard actual claims of the issue)’ when they bring it up in conversation.

      • cracker

        It’s the people who tell you they aren’t racist who are usually the worst racists, the same people who start sentences with “I have a black friend…” or “I’m no racist, but…” BUT YOU ARE A RACIST!!!

    • Jay

      Sorry, dude, but race is TOTALLY a part of the reaction. People cannot stand the sight of a young black kid getting wealth and privilege — and they just lap up stories about Miley Cyrus. What’s the difference (besides Jaden Smith actually having some talent)? Yeah, that’s right. Just because YOU don’t want to think about race doesn’t mean you don’t, or that it doesn’t exist.

      Also, anybody who spends time getting a hate on for a kid actor needs to get out of the house more. Maybe take up a hobby.

      • mar

        respectfully disagree…I think Miley, Britney, and all the like are out of control and badly behaved. I don’t feel that way about Jaden at all. I just think he’s a cocky 11 year-old boy. Has nothing to do with race for me.

      • jennrae

        Well, I can’t stand Miley, either. Both were handed success, and Miley, at least, is not at all talented. She also sasses adults and that is never cute coming from someone who has no real problems and probably never will. If Jaden wants to be an actor, get him in their local community theater. Have him pay his dues and really learn the craft instead of putting the pressure of a how-many-millions-of-dollars movie on the shoulders of a young child. Worst case, it bombs and the kid is crushed and never works again, best case it turns into a franchise and Jaden becomes an egomaniac with nowhere to go but down.

      • Colette

        EXCELLENT COMMENT! That has to be it because I actually saw the movie and really enjoyed his performance and I love the way he feels about himself, he is a leader not a follower!

      • betty


      • kelly

        Agree agree agree! I am 45 I enjoyed the old Karate Kid, my 16 year old watched it with me, he enjoyed it. I went to see the updated Karate Kid, I enjoyed it, my son enjoyed it also. I thought it was pretty nice to remake a great one. If you think about it alot of movie of today, have a past viewing. Jaden Smith was great. Nice movie. So if you are an adult be nice, you had had your youth, stop hate on the young. Be a role model, not a dream destoyer.

    • KRG

      I too enjoyed the article and thought it expressed presicely how I felt on the ‘Smithlashlash’. I had no interest in seeing Karate Kid this weekend but now it just made my to do list;-)

  • Chuck

    This is one of the most thoughtful, well-argued columns I’ve read in a long time. Thank you!

  • Ruth

    He’s a preteen. So yeah, he’s probably rude an insufferable, etc, but so are must 11-year-old boys. And yes, he is luckier than most other kids, but that’s not anything he had anything to do with. I could see a little bit of jealousy, but ultimately hatred? Against a kid? Those people need to find something better to do and leave him the hell alone. People are sensitive at that age and the last thing he needs is random strangers – adult strangers – on the internet expressing hatred against him. If there’s one way to turn him into a “douchebag”, that’s it.

    • jennrae

      My nephew is eleven years old and he just stole a jar of my sister’s quarters and told her he dug them out of somebody’s yard.

    • Greg

      Actually, Jaden Smith needs random strangers to point out that he’s an obnoxious brat because his parents sure aren’t raising him to show any humility or class or gratitude for his station in life. And check out the pics of him at the MTV awards…head tilted and arms folded looking like your typical thug rapper.

      • wakeforce

        Case in point! There’s so many racist statements in this comment, I don’t know where to begin! But of course people like Ashtrash won’t see it.

      • kelly

        MY goodness Greg, your ruler results has really made you mad. (Think about it…..measurement, ruler….inches..lol)

      • Peggy

        Why on earth should he “show humility and gratitude” for his station in life? And saying he looks like a rapper thug? Why shouldn’t he act like a kid?

      • Lynn

        That’s your opinion! And so what if he looks like a thug, if you even know what a thug looks like…Is he supposed to look and act like an idiot for you to like him? Forget that…The nerve of you sitting here judging this child, like you’re the perfect person; or like he has to be the way you want him to be. Raise your kids (if you have any) the way you want them to be and stop worrying about how others raise them…judgemental SOB.

      • mcme

        Your comment is absolutely despicable.

  • beth

    I just watched the interview for the first time after reading this article. I thought the kid did a great job and handled himself very well with Letterman. I also think people that take to the internet to hate on an 11 year old kid ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    • Al

      There indeed may be a racial component here. The attacks are somewhat Glen Beckian in the fashion of Beck’s attack on 11 year old Malia Obama.

      • jadenisawesome

        its maliya obama idiot.and shes the nicest kid on earth

      • Beverly

        You People has the wrong understanding about this movie, its about a little boy going to another country, and defending himself against bullies.. You didn’t have a problem with the movie when it was a white kid. He can be wants to be. THUMBS UP for Jaden.

    • lesfull

      I agree with you Beth. My husband was one of the initial people who saw the interview and couldn’t stand Jaden. He heard me laughing while I was watching the interview and came in to watch it again. Even he said afterwards that he couldn’t remember why the interview gave him such a negative reaction because the kid comes off as funny, smart and a lot like his dad, who my husband loves.

      • KSW

        I saw the movie last night and loved every minute of it… Jaden is an excellent actor. It seems to me that these days, if you are pretty, rich, talented or anything else positive, there will be those that want to tear you down. SAD.

    • LOL

      The haters are mainly southern rednecks. Whitey wants to get the black man “in his place.”

      • TonyB

        I am a southern redneck, am not a racist, and thought the interview was hilarious. Jaden is very poised and has a wonderful sense of humor. You can definitely see his father’s influence in his personality. He has a self assurance that some adults don’t even have. Will Smith is one of my favorite actors. I look forward to seeing the direction his son takes in future movies. Stop hating on Jaden, he is a typical 11 year old, hating on his sister! Hang in there Jaden

      • mar

        oh…there may be some of that, but I think that kind of comment just eggs people on. I think he’s very smart and confident…but a little modesty and humility are a good thing for all of us.

      • jennrae

        That was meant to read “white people from everywhere…are racist” and “is just as bad AS….” Normally I leave my mistakes because most people can figure out what I meant, but in this case I didn’t want anyone to think that I thought is was bad ass to be racist, lol.

      • jennrae

        Yes, to LOL, it is just as racist to lump all southerners in as “rednecks” or “whitey.” Yes, white people from everywhere, small towns and large cities, all educational backgrounds, and from every tax bracket, but so are black people! White people do not have the monopoly on racism. Referring to someone as a redneck or whitey or “poor white trash” is just as bad ass calling someone the n-word.

      • Meli

        LOL–aren’t you being stereotypical? You’re not from the South, therefore all Southerners are racist rednecks. My guess is you’re one of the Haters and you just got your clock cleaned by this article and you’re ashamed of yourself.

    • paula

      I totally agree. I read a bunch of the comments before I watched the clip, and was surprised at how enjoyable that interview was. He was funny! So was Dave! It was a great little bit. I don’t think he seemed cocky or disrespectful at all.

      • Amy

        I am a teacher and I would take Jaden any day. Personable and smart. He did not seem disrespectful at all. I agree with with Paula.

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