Geoffrey Owens, best known for his role of Elvin Tibideaux on “The Cosby Show”, is thanking fans for their support after a photo of him working at Trader Joe’s went viral.
Last week an article by the Daily Mail revealed the actor was working as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey. Photos snapped by a customer accompanied a headline that read: “From learning lines to serving the long line!” The article insultingly described Owens’ appearance on the job and even went as far as pointing out what his hourly wage might be.
On social media, people said they felt the article was job shaming Owens who was simply making an honest living for himself.
Other actors, celebrities, and fans came to Owens’ defense online.
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. https://t.co/1RI8sltHMe
— Chris Rankin (@chrisrankin) September 1, 2018
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) September 2, 2018
In an interview with CNN, Owens spoke out about what he has experienced over the past week.
“It was hurtful but very short lived,” Owens said. “What has been sustained, now over days, is how much love and support there is. Not just for me, but for working people. The idea that, ‘Hey, what’s wrong with working at Trader Joe’s, or any job like that?”
Upon hearing about the Daily Mail story, Owens resigned from his position at Trader Joe’s. He felt that he would not be able to continue doing his job peacefully after the story broke.
Owens situation, however, has opened up a conversation on job shaming and classism.
“What I hope continues to resonate is the idea that one job is not better than another,” Owens said. “A certain job might pay more, it might have better benefits, it might look better on paper, but that essentially one kind of work isn’t better than another kind of work, that we reevaluate that whole idea and we start honoring the dignity of work and the dignity of the working person.”
Jumpstart a career doing something you are passionate about with one of College Media Network’s courses. Read about our current offerings, schedule and unique virtual learning environment here.