We just celebrated Labor Day in America, but some are taking opportunity to shame an honest man for doing an honest day’s work.
Actor Geoffrey Owens, who had a starring role on “The Cosby Show,” was spotted at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey, bagging groceries.
A customer at the store in Clifton, New Jersey spotted Owens working as a cashier and snapped a picture. The actor is best known for his role as Cosby’s son-in-law, Elvin Tibideaux.
The Daily Mail wrote an article about the incident last week with a job-shaming headline: “From learning lines to serving the long line!”
The details in the story were equally insulting: “Wearing an ID badge bearing his name, the former star wore a Trader Joe’s T-shirt with stain marks on the front as he weighed a bag of potatoes.”
Social media took on the story and Fox News picks it up and tweeted their own version.
The news stories became a catalyst for a flood of support for Owens from fans and other actors.
“Family Ties” actress Justine Bateman (also of ’80s TV fame), chastised the person who took Owens’ picture while he was “earning an honest living.”
“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.”
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
Actor Chris Rankin, who appeared in the “Harry Potter” movies, said he worked in kitchens after the popular film franchise came to an end.
“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,” he said in a tweet.
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
Former NFL player and now an actor, Terry Crews, chimed in as well: “I swept floors AFTER the @NFL, If need be I’d do it again.”
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) September 2, 2018
Actor Blair Underwood tweeted, “#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. Much respect to you Sir!”
— Blair Underwood (@BlairUnderwood) September 2, 2018
Owens hasn’t exactly been sitting around doing nothing since his popular series ended in 1992. If you look at his profile on IMDB.com, it reveals a slew of TV roles over the past 25 years: guest shots on shows like “Law & Order,” “Blue Bloods,” “Lucifer, “The Blacklist” and even a couple of guest appearances on the cable sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
His latest TV role came this year in an episode of “Elementary,” and he has a few other screen projects yet to be released.
Owens has done a lot of stage work through the years too, according to his website, and he’s the founder and artistic director of The Brooklyn Shakespeare Company.
Owens is a Yale graduate and the son of former U.S. congressman Major Owens. But as any actor will tell you, sometimes the gaps between jobs can force you to get secondary gigs.
The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, tweeted this in support after the Fox News story aired:
“This #LaborDay, we honor #geoffreyowens & ALL of the hard-working actors & artists who work 1, 2, 3 day jobs in order to pay the bills, take care of their families & still work to entertain us.”
This #LaborDay, we honor #geoffreyowens & ALL of the hard-working actors & artists who work 1, 2, 3 day jobs in order to pay the bills, take care of their families & still work to entertain us. #ActorsWithDayJobs, please share yours! We’re here for u & will RT #ActorsWithDayJobs
— SAG-AFTRA Foundation (@sagaftraFOUND) September 3, 2018
The union also asked other actors to share their experiences under the hashtag #ActorsWithDayJobs.