Geoffrey Owens appeared on the September 4 edition of “Good Morning America” to respond to critics job-shaming him for working at Trader Joes. A photograph of “The Cosby Show” actor bagging groceries went viral over Labor Day weekend, prompting some people to make fun of Owens or express sympathy to him for what appeared like a downward career trajectory. Owens answered his critics by saying their negative perspective isn’t true.
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“There is no job that’s better than another job,” Owens said. “It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper, but actually it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable, and if we have a kind of a rethinking about that because of what’s happened to me, that would be great, but no one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or a negative perspective. I’ve had a great life, I’ve had a great career, and I’ve had a career that most actors would die for.”
Owens had been working at Trader Joes for 15 months. The actor explained he took the job so that he could continue to support himself while auditioning for roles. Owens said the Trader Joes job gave him the “flexibility” he needed to continue being an actor. The reason Owens never advertised his job at Trader Joes was because he didn’t want people to think he was no longer interested in acting. Owens said he is “not ashamed” of the job, although he decided to leave Trader Joes after the photograph created unwanted attention.
“I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short, because so shortly after that, the responses – my wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world of support and so, fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long,” Owens said about the aftermath of the photo going viral.
While people online were quick to criticize Owens, many fellow actors took to social media to defend him and share their own odd jobs. Terry Crews, for instance, tweeted support for Owens and explained that he took a job sweeping floors after he left the NFL and struggled to break into the acting business.
Watch Owens’ full appearance on “Good Morning America” in the video below.