Celebs defend former 'Cosby Show' actor Geoffrey Owens after Trader Joe's job shaming
Geoffrey Owens, the actor who played Elvin on "The Cosby Show," is speaking up after being called out for bagging groceries at Trader Joe's. USA TODAY
Hollywood is jumping to the defense of former “Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens.
A number of celebrities took to Twitter over Labor Day weekend to commend Owens' hard work, after Fox News and the Daily Mail reported that the 57-year-old actor had been spotted bagging groceries at a supermarket, a move many social media users viewed as a form of shaming.
Owens played Sondra Huxtable’s husband, Elvin, on the hit sitcom in the '80s and '90s. Owens has continued to act and most recently was featured in an episode of “Lucifer” in 2017.
A shopper spotted Owens at Trader Joe's in Clifton, N.J., where workers make about $11 an hour. She told the Daily Mail she recognized Owens and took some photos, and later went to the internet to confirm that it was Owens.
Her photos made headlines, which left some people questioning why.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Terry Crews tweeted that an honest day’s work is “nothing to be ashamed of.”
The former professional athlete shared his own experience with finding work after leaving the National Football League: “I swept floors AFTER the @NFL. If need be, I’d do it again.”
"Quantico" actor Blair Underwood said he has "much respect" for Owens: "#NOSHAME in good, honest, hard work. He’s being a man in doing what he needs to do to provide for himself and his family."
"Better Things" actress Pamela Adlon wrote that despite what people believe, money isn't flowing constantly in show business: "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."
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation offered support to Owens and other #ActorsWithDayJobs: "This #LaborDay, we honor #geoffreyowens and ALL of the hard-working actors who work 1, 2, 3 day jobs in order to pay the bills, take care of their families & still work to entertain us."
"Family Ties" alum Justine Bateman criticized those who shamed Owens for trying to make an "honest living." She tweeted: "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."
Bateman said Owens reached out to thank her for sticking up for him.
Musician Rissi Palmer called the shaming "disgusting."
"Just because you’re on tv doesn’t mean you’re rich. And there’s nothing wrong with working to sustain yourself and your art ..."
Entertainers weren't the only ones jumping to the Owen's defense. Texas Congressional candidate Dayna Steele offered Fox News another angle to their story.
" 'Geoffrey Owens still acts occasionally, works at Trader Joe’s, and ministers to others in need, setting a good example for people everywhere. What a great guy,’ That’s what @FoxNews should have said,” she tweeted.
"Harry Potter" alum Chris Rankin sympathized with Owens: "I worked in a Wetherspoons kitchen after being in Harry Potter. I needed a job, no shame in that. And you know what? I really enjoyed it! You do what you need to do and that's nothing to be ashamed of."