Nicki Minaj to give $25,000 to job-shamed actor Geoffrey Owens
Over the past few days, actor Geoffrey Owens has found himself getting a lot of media coverage - but not for any of his on-screen work. On the contrary, the former Cosby Show star went viral on social media after it transpired that he was working not on any acting-related projects, but instead as a cashier in Trader Joe's.
It all started when a customer of the store posted an image of Owens on Twitter. Various news and media outlets then picked up on the image, and began "job-shaming" the man for trying to earn an honest living.
While it may have started negatively for Owens, though, the negative spin on his situation prompted a wave of support from fans, workers in the TV industry, and fellow actors - especially those who were familiar with the struggle of not being able to pay the bills through acting alone.
And now, a rather more unlikely figure has come forward to share their support for the actor: Nicki Minaj.
Yesterday, on her Queen Radio show, Minaj said that Owens was a "legend", and that she wanted to support him after he was so terribly shamed.
"They took a picture of Geoffrey Owens and put this motherf***ing man on the motherf***in' internet while he was f***ing baggin up some f***ing 'groceries to feed his muthaf***ing family," she said.
"I personally want to donate, on behalf of Queen Radio, $25,000 to Geoffrey Owens today. Let me tell you something: This man is a whole f***ing legend in these streets."
Minaj also lashed out at the woman who took the photos, Karma Lawrence, and criticised her for trying to embarrass a hardworking man.
Lawrence herself has since come forward to explain her actions, and insists that she intended no malice in sharing the pictures. "I don’t know why I snuck a picture," she said. "I figured everybody does it. I don’t know what possessed me. I just did it. I didn’t even think about it. I just kind of did it on impulse and it was a bad impulse."
She also said that she would apologise to him if she ever got the chance.
"I would tell him, 'I am extremely, extremely apologetic about what has happened,' and if I could take it back, I would," Lawrence said.
Meanwhile, Owens has spoken out to thank everyone who came to his defence when the pictures went viral.
"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," he said in an interview with ABC news. "It really is quite astounding. It's very encouraging."
After 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.
So, while the initial incident was obviously upsetting for the actor, it appears that everything that has happened since has helped him get his career back on track.