Actors and the public are rallying around “Cosby Show” alum Geoffrey Owens after he was apparently shamed for working at a grocery store.
Several news outlets circulated a photo of Owens behind the register at a Trader Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey, implying the actor had fallen on hard times.
Fox News picked up the story, tweeting Friday that Owens was “spotted bagging groceries” while wearing a name tag. They ran the image of Owens at work alongside a black and white headshot of him at a younger age.
But many people, both in and out of show business, spoke out against the apparent shaming and applauded Owens for his hard work.
“Again, why is this news? When I worked on ‘Thirtysomething’ I was also summarizing depositions to pay my rent,” “The Middle” star Patricia Heaton wrote on Twitter. “Why are you trying to humiliate this honorable, hardworking actor? Shame on you! #geoffreyowens - many great blessings are coming your way!”
If you’re trying to shame a cast member from The Cosby Show, I could think of an easier target https://t.co/OoicUyENAF— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) September 1, 2018
So, 26 years after one TV job, this guy looks differently (shock) and is earning an honest living at a Trader Joe’s. The people taking his picture and passing judgment are trash. https://t.co/OUbOORk6jW— Justine Bateman (@JustineBateman) September 1, 2018
I had been a working actor for years. Jobs stopped, as they do. I worked in retail. At a flower shop. I passed out flyers. It’s about the work. Work gives you pride and purpose. Your visibility as an actor never goes away. But the money sure does. #geoffreyowens pic.twitter.com/BBzZaBrGBx— Pamela Adlon (@pamelaadlon) September 2, 2018
“Battlestar Galactica” actor Paul Campbell wrote: “I worked with Geoffrey Owens about 10 years ago on a little Indy film. He’s one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. I’m appalled that people are taking shots at him for working a ‘regular job.’
“2 or 3 times a year I consider walking away from my career and doing LITERALLY anything else,” he continued. “That headline should read ‘Geoffrey Owens: Smartest Man Alive.’ For what it’s worth - I wrapped filming on a movie this week and tomorrow I’m sanding drywall. Come at me @FoxNews.”
So Fox News shames a man for working at Trader Joe's because he was once on a hit TV show? Demonizing hard work while abetting grifters enriching themselves on tax dollars is a potent stew of hypocrisy and irony. Maybe we're unknowing extras in a revival of the Twilight Zone.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) September 3, 2018
This made me so sad that a supposed “News” source would shame a man for simply working a job. How dare they pass judgement on his situation. ? Weak @FoxNews.— JD Scott (@MrJDScott) September 2, 2018
A photo of actor Geoffrey Owens bagging groceries sparked a conversation about classism https://t.co/NBOktX1okd
Terry Crews, who now stars on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” wrote on Twitter that he swept floors after retiring from the NFL and "if need be, I’d do it again."
“Good honest work is nothing to be ashamed of,” he wrote.
“Geoffrey [Owens] is a fantastic, hilarious actor,” Judd Apatow tweeted. “He was incredible on @Divorce. It’s streaming on @hbo. Season one. As funny and strong as they come!”
Owens’ breakout role in Hollywood was as Cliff Huxtable’s son-in-law Dr. Elvin Tibideaux on “The Cosby Show” but the 57-year-old Brooklyn-born actor has consistently worked in television and film ever since, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) shows.