The Cosby Show actor who was ‘job shamed’ after being photographed working at Trader Joe’s has broken his silence to share his pride over his work and say he was ‘devastated’ that it was ever called into question.
Appearing on Good Morning America on Tuesday morning sporting his Trader Joe’s name tag with pride, Geoffrey Owens said he never intended to advertise his work at the store and was stunned when photographs of him bagging groceries emerged last week.
The 57-year-old also revealed that he had been working at the store in New Jersey for 15 months ‘out of necessity’ between short-term acting gigs and teaching, but that he has now quit because of the unwanted attention he has received.
‘When I first saw the pictures… I was really devastated,’ Owens said, explaining that he has not had an on-screen job which lasted more than 10 weeks in the 26 years since The Cosby Show wrapped.
‘I got to a point where I’d been teaching acting and directing for 30 plus years but it just didn’t add up enough. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
‘I wanted a job that I could I have some flexibility and try to stay in the acting business.
‘I didn’t advertise it, not because I was ashamed of it, but because I didn’t want the acting community to think that I wasn’t pursuing acting anymore,’ he said.
When photographs of him in the store swept social media last week, Owens said he was baffled by the sudden interest.
‘It was really overwhelming. It came out of nowhere. I feel like I’m more of a celebrity now than I ever have been. I’m more of a celebrity now than when I actually was a celebrity!’ he joked.
He went on to say he hoped his story sparked a shift in attitudes about work and getting by.
‘This business of me being the Cosby guy who got shamed for working at Trader Joe’s, that’s going to pass. I hope what doesn’t pass is this idea that people are now thinking about – what it means to work.
‘The honor the working person and the dignity of work. [There’s a] reevaluation [of the idea] that some jobs are better than others. It’s not true.
‘There is no job that’s better than another. It may pay better, it may have better benefits, it may look better on paper. But it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile.
‘No one should feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life, a great career. I’ve had a career most actors would die for. I am doing fine,’ he said proudly.
Owens added that the story had piqued interest in his acting talents again and that while he had been offered some ‘hints’ of work since the story erupted, he would not feel comfortable accepting an acting job because of it.
‘This might sound weird but I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting acting jobs from this event. I wouldn’t mind getting auditions. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable, someone giving me a job, because this happened. I want to get a job because I am the right person for the job,’ he said.
At the end of his interview, he won enthusiastic applause from host Robin Roberts.
She is one of the many people who have lauded his work ethic since the photographs emerged.
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Source: USA Today