Twitter piped up recently in response to a Daily Mail story later reported on by Fox News, about how two shoppers saw former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens working at a Trader Joe’s location in New Jersey.
Karma Lawrence, who reportedly works as a medical secretary, saw Owens while at the grocery store in Clifton, NJ, with her wife, The Daily Mail reports. She took pictures of him and told the publication how she felt seeing him there:
“I would have thought after The Cosby Show he would maybe be doing something different…It was a shock to see him working there and looking the way he did … It made me feel really bad. I was like, ‘Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.’ ” she told The Daily Mail.
Owens reportedly played the role of Elvin Tibideaux on the show between 1985 and 1992, but has also starred in others in the years following.
But as messages of support for Owens bubbled up on Twitter, it became clear that people didn’t like the way he was characterized and had many thoughts on what it takes to support yourself financially during your career.
Good Morning America reported that according to him, since appearing on the Cosby Show (and excluding a theater job), he hasn’t had a position “that’s lasted more than 10 weeks in 26 years.” He reportedly quit his job at Trader Joe’s “because of all this unwanted attention,” although the store is open to his return.
Owens appeared on the morning show today, where he explained things from his perspective:
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
Owens told the morning show that eventually, his depiction as “the Cosby guy who got shamed for working at Trader Joe’s … that’s going to pass.” But he went on to say what he hopes this does for the way we think about work overall:
“I hope what doesn’t pass is this idea that people are now thinking, this re-thinking about what it means to work. You know, the honor of the working person and the dignity of work. And I hope that this period that we’re in now where we have this heightened sensitivity about that, and a re-evaluation of what it means to work, and that re-evaluation of the idea that some jobs are better than others … because that’s actually not true.
“There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper, but actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable, and if we have … kind of a re-thinking about that because of what’s happened to me, that would be great. But no one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or a negative perspective.” he said.
Check out what people have been saying about Owens on Twitter:
Here’s what Twitter had to say
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) September 3, 2018
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) September 1, 2018
#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
I don’t know #GeoffreyOwens
I know this –
Almost every successful actor, singer, athlete or celebrity, is one lucky (unlucky) break away from bagging groceries themselves.
Few would admit it.
— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) September 2, 2018
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) September 2, 2018
This #LaborDay, we honor #geoffreyowens & ALL of the hard-working actors & artists who work 1, 2, 3 day jobs in order to pay the bills, take care of their families & still work to entertain us. #ActorsWithDayJobs, please share yours! We’re here for u & will RT #ActorsWithDayJobs
— SAG-AFTRA Foundation (@sagaftraFOUND) September 3, 2018
#geoffreyowens was my Shakespeare teacher. I still rely entirely on his system of text analysis for every text, and remember his generosity and kindness. Oh, and: nanny, dogwalker, personal assistant, receptionist, script reader, house cleaning, yoga teacher. Want me to go on?
— gro engelstoft (@GEngelstoft) September 3, 2018
#LaborDay celebrates the value of our country’s workers; I’m just so sad to hear that an American felt the need to “expose” a man for working hard. I wish there were more people with as much integrity as #GeoffreyOwens. Love you, Geoff – keep shining!! https://t.co/N5jP7CAvVq
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) September 3, 2018