'Cosby Show' actor speaks out after being 'job-shamed' for working at Trader Joe's

'Cosby Show' actor speaks out after being 'job-shamed' for working at Trader Joe's

Over the past few days, actor Geoffrey Owens has attracted a great deal of attention on social media after photographs of the former Cosby Show star surfaced on Twitter. These pictures were then picked up by various news and media outlets - many of whom seemed to be shaming the 57-year-old for making a living in the same way that millions of other folks do every single day.

As a result, fellow actors and social media users leapt to Owens' defence. Many pointed out that it was perfectly normal for those who work in "gig" type roles to take on positions outside of their usual line of work when no such role is available; meanwhile, others said that it was actually offensive to even call Owens out in the first place, as there is nothing inherently wrong or shameful about working in a service role.

Now, after days of comments and discussion, Owens himself has come forward to speak about the experience of being poked fun at in the media.

Actor Geoffrey Owens attends the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/FilmMagic) Credit: Getty

"I was really devastated [about the reporting of his job]," he said in an interview with ABC. "But the period of devastation was so short."

He then went on to say that he was overwhelmed by support from people who defended his choice to take a job in Trader Joe's, and that this was not the first time he had been recognised while working at the store.

"I really want to thank everybody out there - family, friends, the Hollywood community, and the general public - for the incredible support, the amazing support and positivity that they've shown for me. It really is quite astounding. It's very encouraging."

Explaining his decision to take the job, Owens said: "It got to a point where I'd been teaching, acting, directing for 30-plus years, but it got to the point where it just didn't add up enough. You gotta do what you gotta do."

He also went on to iterate that acting is not somehow a nobler profession than working a store job, and nobody is worth less than another person because of the type of industry they work in.

"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, but actually it's not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable."

Since the interview aired, Tyler Perry tweeted a job offer to Owens, saying that he has "so much respect" for people who find themselves in the sorts of situation that he was.

It's great to hear that Owens is now being offered opportunities to work in the field he loves again, but equally fantastic to know that there are thousands of people out there who respect and understand that working in customer service is not something to be ashamed of. All people are worthy of kindness and understanding, regardless of whether they are big-time actors or small-time bag-packers.

Congratulations, Geoffrey - we hope to see you on our screens again soon!