NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The former “Cosby Show” actor who was job-shamed after photos surfaced of him working at Trader Joe’s is speaking out for the first time.
Geoffrey Owens said he’s not embarrassed about his day job and there’s a reason why he didn’t publicize it, CBS2’s Mary Calvi reported Tuesday.
Owens played “Elvin” on “The Cosby Show” back in the 1980s and early ’90s. He was the doctor husband of Sondra Huxtable, one of Bill Cosby’s daughters on the show.
Some 25 years later, the Yale graduate has a job at the Trader Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey. He was put in the spotlight for it after shopper Karma Lawrence snapped a photo of the 57-year-old last week and sent it to the news outlet The Daily Mail, which quoted her as saying, in part, “Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.”
This caused a backlash against job-shaming.
On Tuesday, Owens spoke out, appearing on “Good Morning America.”
“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.
And he’s receiving plenty of support from around the country.
“It’s really overwhelming in a good way,” Owens said. “It came out of nowhere. I really want to thank everybody out there — family, friends, the Hollywood community and the general public — for the amazing support and positivity that they’ve shown for me. It’s quite astounding. It’s very encouraging.”
Good wishes have come, too, from the acting community.
“What I’ll say as the SAG-AFTRA president — shame on anybody who would make fun of somebody really working,” Gabrielle Carteris said.
“Actors are people and we have the same needs as everyone else and we will do whatever it takes to make families happy and bring joy to our audiences. We have to juggle both,” actress Kathleen Kellaigh said.
Owens said, personally, he’s doing just fine.
“Every job is worthwhile and valuable. 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.”
And maybe he said it best with this post on Instagram, which said, “There’s no shame in hard work.”