Former Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens recently made headlines — not because he’s in the cast of a blockbuster film but because his latest role is bagging groceries at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s. A customer snapped a shot of him in action at his register and sent it to the Daily Mail, and the photo quickly went viral. Fox News picked up the story and seemingly shamed the actor for his new gig, sparking a huge backlash from Yahoo commenters who leapt to his defense.
“Hard-working people deserve respect, period,” said one user. Another wrote, “Disrespecting a man for working hard? Speechless.” One even joked, “Better than a Kardashian.”
“WHY,” asked one commenter. “Why did Fox News sink this LOW? This man graduated from YALE and doesn’t think that bagging groceries in between teaching Shakespeare and acting is beneath him. This is a REAL man.”
The actor broke his silence on Good Morning America, proudly sporting his Trader Joe’s name tag. Speaking to Robin Roberts he said of the story, “No one has to feel sorry for me. ... I’m doing fine.” He added that he was moved by the outpouring of support he received, saying: “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."
Fellow actors have also spoken out, slamming those who sought to mock Owens’s job.
Megaproducer and actor Tyler Perry tweeted a job offer to Owens.
After receiving the offer, Owens told Entertainment Tonight: “That was kind of cool. ... We've never worked together before. So, that's a very, very generous thing for him to say. And we'll see what happens with that. But, that's encouraging."
As a result of the coverage, he also had to quit his job at Trader Joe’s, he said. “I felt like just for my personal sake, my dignity and my emotional well-being, I didn't want to be in the store while I felt like people might be staking out the place as they did. ... I felt like I needed to at least temporarily step out, and I think that was the wise thing to do, actually."