An actor who was a regular on The Cosby Show has said he is thankful for support he has received since photos of him working at a grocery store showed up on news sites.
Geoffrey Owens said on ABC’s Good Morning America that he did feel some people were trying to job-shame him, but he stressed that “every job is worthwhile and valuable”, adding that what is important is the honour of the working person and the dignity of the work.
“There is no job that’s better than another,” he said. “It may pay better, it may have better benefits, it may look better on paper. But it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile.”
Owens played Elvin Tibideaux, the husband of Sondra, the eldest daughter of Bill Cosby’s character on the TV show.
Photos showed him working on a till at a New Jersey store, with “Geoffrey” on his name tag. He said he no longer works there due to the unwanted attention he received.
Owens said people had recognised him in the past and it was never an issue, noting they were “very, very cool about it”.
The 57-year-old said he has not had an acting job that lasted more than 10 weeks since leaving The Cosby Show, but has taught acting at Yale and worked other jobs related to entertainment.
“I wanted a job where I could have some flexibility” if auditions or other matters came up, Owen said.
“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 any more.”
The woman who submitted the photos seemed stunned to see someone from such a popular show doing that type of work, but several actors pointed out they have to make a living between jobs, and places that offer health insurance are especially attractive.
Actor and former professional American football player Terry Crews tweeted that he swept floors after the NFL and “if need be, I’d do it again”.
Actor Blair Underwood tweeted that Owens is “being a man in doing what he needs to do to provide for himself and his family”.
Owens was most recently in an episode of Elementary and finished a movie called Impossible Monsters.
“No one should feel sorry for me,” he said. “I’ve had a great life, a great career.”