Last week, Geoffrey Owens, a former regular on The Cosby Show, was photographed bagging groceries at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey because I guess some folks (ahem, Daily Mail and Fox News) think it’s shameful for an actor to be doing anything other than acting?
But other people didn’t find it as funny or even interesting that an actor had a day job, because what’s so crazy about that? People gotta eat. Fox News and Daily Mail got some backlash for running the story, and Owens began to receive a ton of support from people on social media who understood his position and didn’t think it was a big deal. It’s important to be employed, no matter what that job may be.
Owens, 57, appeared on Good Morning America, where he explained that all jobs are important, even if they don’t pay the same.
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 wore a Yale hat, a salute to the school he attended and later taught at, as well as his Trader Joe’s name tag (which is basically a think piece right there).
“I hope that this period that we’re in now, where we have a heightened sensitivity about that, and a re-evaluation of what it means to work and the idea that some jobs are better than others — that’s actually not true,” Owens told GMA host Robin Roberts. “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.”
He added, “No one should feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!”
Makig things even more fine, several big-name celebrities tweeted their support for Owens.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists even got in on it on Labor Day—a perfect time if ever there were one—asking actors with day jobs (of which there are many) to share their jobs on Twitter.
Of all the support, Owens said:
It’s really overwhelming, in a good way. I kind of feel like that character in that Woody Allen movie that wakes up one morning and he’s a celebrity all of a sudden … it came out of nowhere. I really want to thank everybody out there … for the incredible support, the amazing support and positivity that they’ve shown for me. It’s quite astounding.
Owens had been working at Trader Joe’s for 15 months—it was a good fit job-wise because it allowed him to still pursue his acting career. However, he had to quit over the attention. Could that attention lead to a job? According to Owens, there’s been “all kinds of interest” since the news broke, but he’s not looking to get a job just as a hand-out. He said that he “wouldn’t feel comfortable getting acting jobs” that way. Auditions, maybe, but as he stated, “I want to get a job because I’m the right person for that job.”
Owens may not want to be handed a job, but then none other than Tyler Perry himself reached out to invite Owens to be in the drama he’s about to start shooting on OWN (presumably The Haves and The Have Nots).
So it looks like all this could lead to a resurgence in Owens’ acting work. Which would be a great thing to happen to a great man, who, as it happens, 24 years ago bought someone he hardly knew groceries just because the person didn’t have any money.
Good karma has a way of coming back around.
h/t The Root