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Actor Geoffrey Owens Responds to Job Shamers

Hey, what’s wrong with working at Trader Joe’s?

Tamia Heard

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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.

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.”

 

 

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Tamia Heard is a rising senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tamia is majoring in communication studies with a journalism concentration. As a southern woman, she enjoys Saturday's filled with college football and good food!

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