'Cosby Show' Alum Geoffrey Owens Speaks out After Being Job-Shamed
Geoffrey Owens, the actor who received an overload of support from TV and film industry celebrities after being job-shamed for working at a grocery store, spoke out on Good Morning America on Tuesday, thanking those who stood up for him and pressing the significance of "every job."
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: //t.co/0wZJnpowI9 pic.twitter.com/aNiG5fV2yf— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 4, 2018
The former Cosby Show actor told Robin Roberts that he was "really devastated" after photos of him working at a Trader Joe's were shared widely online in what many perceived as an attempt to shame him for his job.
"I was really devastated," Owens said, "But the period of devastation was so short."
Owens said that in addition to the "positivity" he received from commentators and fellow actors sharing support, empathy and stories from their own careers, he said that the incident helped to shed light on "what it means to work" and the "dignity" of it.
"There is no job that is better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper," Owens said, sporting his Trader Joe's name badge. "But actually, it's not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable, and if we have a rethinking about that because of what has happened to me, that would be great."
He told Roberts that he began working at Trader Joe's just over a year ago to help make ends meet. He said he had been acting, directing and teaching for more than 30 years but "it got to a point where it just didn't add up enough."
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
"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 kind of decide, 'Well, he's doing that, he's not pursuing acting anymore.' I felt like I had to be careful about that.
Owens even said that Trader Joe's customers would recognize him every day — and "they were very, very cool about it."
As a result of the viral nature of the incident, Owens said while he doesn't want to automatically get an acting job out of it, he "wouldn't mind" getting auditions.
"I actually ... I wouldn't feel comfortable getting acting jobs from this event," he said. "I wouldn't mind getting auditions, I don't mind if people call me in to try out for things due to what's happened. But I actually wouldn't feel comfortable with someone giving me a job because this happened. I want to get a job because I'm the right person for this job."
"I feel like I'm more of a celebrity now than I've ever been. I'm more of a celebrity now than when I was a celebrity," he joked.
"No one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or negative perspective," he added. "I've had a great life, I've had a great career, I've had a career that most actors would really die for. No one has to feel sorry for me; I'm doing fine."0comments