Geoffrey Owens Backlash Provides A Teachable Moment For Us All

‘Cosby Show’ actor Geoffrey Owens was “job-shamed” over the weekend when images surfaced of him working at a Clifton, New Jersey Trader Joe’s. But his response, and the backlash to people making fun of him for making an honest living between acting gigs have provided a teachable moment for us all.

'Cosby Show' actor Geoffrey Owens
Actor Geoffrey Owens discusses job-shaming uproar on Good Morning America. 9/4/18

Via ABC News:

Former “Cosby Show” star Geoffrey Owens said he has received an outpouring of support after speaking out about the “job shaming” he experienced because he works at Trader Joe’s.

Owens, proudly wearing his Trader Joe’s name tag, sat down with Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” Tuesday and reflected on the dignity of work. Now, lots of good things are coming his way.

[…]

“I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short,” Owens said Tuesday on “GMA.” “My wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world. Fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long.”

Since the images went viral, Owens, 57, said he has received immense support from fellow actors.

Director/producer Tyler Perry was one such actor who stepped up to the plate:

Fellow ‘Cosby Show’ actor Blair Underwood:

Owens, who quit Trader Joe’s over the publicity the published pictures received, told Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts on Tuesday that no one should feel sorry for him, and that there is dignity in working for a living:

“This business of my being this ‘Cosby’ guy who got shamed for working at Trader Joe’s, that’s going to pass… but I hope what doesn’t pass is this idea… this rethinking about what it means to work, the honor of the working person and the dignity of work,” he said. “And, I hope that this period that we’re in now, where we have a heightened sensitivity about that and a re-evaluation of what it means to work, and a reevaluation of the idea that some jobs are better than others because that’s actually not true.

“There is no job that’s better than another job,” he continued. “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.”

The woman who sent the photos of Owens working at Trader Joe’s has been the receiving end of some nasty backlash herself, and now says she now regrets what she did:

Karma Lawrence, the woman who snuck a picture of former “Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens as he cashed out her groceries at an N.J. Trader Joe’s, is filled with regret.

[…]

So why’d she do it? Because she reads Hollywood websites and sees paparazzi shots all the time, she said.

“I don’t know why I snuck a picture,” said Lawrence, 50. “I figured everybody does it. I don’t know what possessed me. I just did it. I didn’t even think about it. I just kind of did it on impulse and it was a bad impulse.”

Lessons to be learned here? Look before you leap. Think before you tweet, hit the send button, pick up the phone, etc.

You can watch the full GMA interview here:

Well done, sir. Well done.

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