A job is a job, and in this day and age, everybody needs one. There’s no shame in punching a clock, even if you used to get set up in a trailer on a fancy set.
That’s what former “The Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens is telling the world after a photo of him bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s went viral. The attention prompted people to shame the actor for seemingly falling from the ranks of successful sitcom actor to grocery store clerk. But Owens isn’t having it, and he’s getting support of legions of others, from everyday people to actors and athletes.
After a couple shopping at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey recognized the actor, who gained stardom as Elvin, the son-in-law of Cliff Huxtable’s patriach, the story was picked up, first by the Daily Mail, and then by Fox News. It quickly went viral, with the implication being that Owens had somehow failed because he was being paid for something besides acting.
Karma Lawrence, the shopper who took the photo said,”It made me feel really bad. I was like, “Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.”
But Owens doesn’t need the sympathy. In the aftermath of his newfound notoriety, he went on Good Morning America to address the kerfuffle, flexing with both his Trader Joe’s name tag and his Yale Bulldog ball cap.
“Every job is worthwhile and valuable,” Owens said on the broadcast. “I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career … so no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine.”
He explained that he was still acting, and that working was necessary, but also gave him flexibility to pursue acting roles.
“I didn’t advertise that I was at Trader Joe’s, not [because] I was ashamed of it, but because I didn’t want the entertainment community to decide, ‘Well, he’s doing that. He’s not pursuing acting anymore.’ I felt like I had to be careful about that,” Owens said.
He doesn’t need to be careful anymore, especially not with the outpouring of support he’s received for others in the industry who know how hard being a working acting can be.
Patricia Heaton, the star of multiple hit sitcoms, chimed in.
Again, why is this news? When I worked on “Thirtysomething” I was also summarizing depositions to pay my rent. Why are you trying to humiliate this honorable, hardworking actor? Shame on you! #geoffreyowens – many great blessings are coming your way! https://t.co/8tgvW3iixr
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) September 2, 2018
Terry Crews, the former football player who stars on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, offered his own hard-luck story to get the shamers to back off.
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) September 2, 2018
And Owens isn’t just getting support from the entertainment community, he’s getting offers. Like this one from Tyler Perry, who knows the value of hard working actors.
#GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) September 4, 2018
Watch the whole Good Morning America:
FULL INTERVIEW: @GMA EXCLUSIVE — “There’s no job better than another…every job is worthwhile…” Actor Geoffrey Owens speaks out, responding to job shaming and backlash after a photo of him working at a grocery store was posted online: https://t.co/0wZJnpowI9 pic.twitter.com/aNiG5fV2yf
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 4, 2018