Fans come to the defense of 'The Cosby Show' actor Geoffrey Owens after he's shamed for working at Trader Joe's
On Friday, August 31, it was reported that former 'The Cosby Show' star Geoffrey Owens was spotted working as a cashier at a Clifton, New Jersey Trader Joe's. The 57-year-old actor played the role of Elvin Tibideaux, the husband of Sondra Huxtable, in the final five seasons (1985-1992) of NBC's hit comedy but has now appeared to have fallen on hard times. The discovery was made by 50-year-old Karma Lawrence, who noticed that the man working the cash counter had a familiarity about him. Her wife, Yanelle, was a security manager at the store and the pair managed to confirm his identity through an ID badge he was sporting at the time.
The duo managed to snap multiple pictures of Owen and it showed the 57-year-old sporting a shaggy beard and a stained Trader Joe's uniform. His hairline had receded as well and he had put on a little bit of weight, and the photos soon became viral across social media.
Commenting on the pictures, Lawrence told RadarOnline that the actor looked "bloated and unhappy," adding, "It made me feel really bad. I was like, ‘Wow! All those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.’ Other fans would be surprised for sure as well." Several prominent outlets such as Fox News picked up on the story as well, generating quite a bit of traction across numerous platforms.
But the development was also accompanied by netizens who came to Owens' aid, defending his right to privacy and insisting it was not right to shame anyone for doing their job. One user wrote, "Am I missing something in the picture? The man has a job, he’s making an honest living. Why are we so judgemental... A job is job & as long as it helps pay the bills."
Another person wrote, "That s****y @FoxNews article about Geoffrey Owens has BLOWN. UP. And I am so happy to see SO MANY people coming to his defense. Because he should absolutely not feel ashamed. However, Faux News and the people who took pictures without his permission should be."
The son of former United States Congressman Major Owens, the 57-year-old is also an acting teacher at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York and has glowing reviews from former students who took to Twitter to praise him. "I studied acting with Geoffrey Owens at New Federal Theatre some years ago. He is an AMAZING human being. I hope that this publicity leads to him to landing a major role. Until then, he's supporting his family. Leave this man alone and let him live.," one wrote.
When I look at this picture of Geoffrey Owens, the only things that come to my mind are courage, humility and dedication. Very few artists, especially actors, can fully support themselves in their craft. Taking honest, hard work to offset those dry periods is honorable. pic.twitter.com/tql80NegJt— Aharon Rabinowitz (@ABAOProductions) 2 September 2018
Another posted, "I’m still bothered by this a day later. Geoffrey Owens graduated from Yale cum laude, has a great career going and teaches Shakespeare to anyone who wants to learn. He’s simply a better, smarter, more accomplished and honorable person than everybody on Fox News combined."
Several celebrities came out in his support as well. Chris Rankin, who played the role of Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, wrote: "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" and popular NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch similarly said, "I hate stories like this. He’s a man working hard, there’s shame in publishing this story but not in this man’s job. "
While Owens is currently working at Trader Joe's, he does have some projects lined up. According to Vibe, the actor is set to feature in the film 'Impossible Monsters' and the short film 'Fizzle' in the upcoming months.