Cosby Show’s Geoffrey Owens Speaks Out After Being Job-Shamed

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Geoffrey Owens is A-OK! The Cosby Show alum appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday, September 4, after making headlines for working at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.

“It’s really overwhelming, in a good way,” Owens, 57, told GMA cohost Robin Roberts of the attention he has received in the past week. “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.”

The actor, who played Elvin Tibideaux on the NBC sitcom from 1985 to 1992, said he was “really devastated” when a customer leaked photos to the Daily Mail of him working behind a register at the grocery store. But the job-shaming did not last long.

Bill Cosby, Geoffrey Owens, Sabrina Le Beauf on ’The Cosby Show.’ Getty Images

“My wife and I started to read these responses from, like, literally all over the world,” he said while wearing his Trader Joe’s name tag. “I really want to thank everybody out there … for the incredible support, the amazing support and positivity that they’ve shown for me. It really is quite astounding.”

Owens said he taught acting and directing for more than 30 years, but he wanted something with more “flexibility” so he took the job at Trader Joe’s about 15 months ago. He then said he “wouldn’t feel comfortable” accepting another role in Hollywood just because people “feel sorry” for his current situation.

geoffrey owens
Geoffrey Owens attends the press launch for FringeNYC 2012 at the New School for Drama in New York City on August 7, 2012. Getty Images

“I want to get a job because I’m the right person for that job,” he explained. “But there is all kind of interest now because of this, so that’s nice. I feel like I’m more of a celebrity now than I’ve ever been.”

Owens said he hopes his experience will make people reevaluate the “idea that some jobs are better than others.” He added, “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 résumé and on paper — but actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”



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