‘Cosby Show’ Actor Geoffrey Owens Had the Best Response to Being Shamed for His Grocery Job
Geoffrey Owens, an actor best known for his starring role as Elvin on The Cosby Show in the late ’80s and early ’90s, has broken his silence on a recent Daily Mail article expressing shock over his employment at Trader Joe’s. The story sparked a debate this weekend over not just how we view celebrities but also how we value different types of work, and his response gets to the heart of the issue in a very simple way.
“There is no job that is better than another job,” Owens, wearing his Trader Joe’s name tag, said on Good Morning America on Tuesday, September 4. “It might pay better. It might have better benefits. It might look better on a résumé and a paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”
Over the weekend, the Daily Mail ran an article featuring photos of Owens at work behind the register at a New Jersey location of the grocery chain. The story was then picked up by other outlets and on social media.
Backlash over the public job-shaming was quick, and celebrities such as Terry Crews, Blair Underwood, Pamela Adlon, and many more came to the actor’s defense, pointing out the unfairness of the situation and also highlighting some of their own non-Hollywood work over the years. The SAG-AFTRA Foundation even started a Twitter thread to encourage other actors to share their “day jobs.”
Prior to the story going viral, Owens had worked at Trader Joe’s for 15 months to supplement his teaching and acting income. He said on GMA that while he often gets recognized, people are typically kind and supportive. He also said that the initial article left him “devastated,” but that the swift support from hardworking people all over the world changed his and his wife’s perspectives.
In addition to support, he’s received a few acting offers, including from the likes of Tyler Perry. But Owens, who has had roles in The Affair, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and The Blacklist in recent years, would prefer to get the work on merit rather than a headline.
“This business of my being the Cosby guy who got shamed for working at Trader Joe’s, that’s going to pass. In some measure of time, that’s going to pass away,” he said. “But I hope what doesn’t pass is…this rethinking about what it means to work, the honor of the working person and the dignity of work.”
What did you think of Geoffrey Owens’ response? Let us know @BritandCo.
(photo via ABC/Paula Lobo)