Anger is brewing over press coverage of former Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens, who was snapped last week packing groceries in a US supermarket.
Several outlets published the pictures, among them Fox News and the Daily Mail, saying that he was ‘spotted’ while doing his second job at a branch of Traders Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey.
'Cosby Show' actor Geoffrey Owens spotted bagging groceries at NJ Trader Joe's https://t.co/bhkxWYa9gq
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 31, 2018
The Mail quoted customer Karma Lawrence, who took the pictures, saying: “It made me feel really bad. I was like, ‘Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier’.”
But the outlets have come under fire for printing the pictures, accused of ‘shaming’ him for working in a supermarket, with a host of actors and other entertainment business figures praising Owens.
I hate stories like this. He’s a man working hard, there’s shame in publishing this story but not in this man’s job. https://t.co/ZaNxPAfjQu
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 31, 2018
I worked with Geoffrey Owens about 10 years ago on a little Indy film. He’s one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. I’m appalled that people are taking shots at him for working a “regular job.” 2 or 3 times a year I consider walking away from
— Paul Campbell (@ThePaulCampbell) September 2, 2018
Fox News truly are a vile entity. And the person that sent this to them should be ashamed of themselves. You have no idea of the bravery, the persistence and the thickness of skin needed to be a creative. Geoffrey Owens, I salute you. ✊🏽 https://t.co/FQLUjwQqEq
— Arsher Ali (@arsherali) September 2, 2018
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
When I look at this picture of Geoffrey Owens, the only things that come to my mind are courage, humility and dedication. Very few artists, especially actors, can fully support themselves in their craft. Taking honest, hard work to offset those dry periods is honorable. pic.twitter.com/tql80NegJt
— Aharon Rabinowitz (@ABAOProductions) September 2, 2018
— Adam McArthur (@_AdamM) September 3, 2018
Shaming Geoffrey Owens for having a job is disgusting man. It infuriates me. What a backwards world we live in.
— Mark Hood (@MarkJPHood) September 3, 2018
The New Yorker even wrote a piece about it…
Geoffrey Owens is what we think of as a successful working actor. Apparently, that’s why a woman shopping at Trader Joe’s was so jarred to see Owens bagging groceries that she snapped his photo and sent it to the Daily Mail. https://t.co/jf4dq0HHdR
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) September 2, 2018
Brooklyn-born Owens, who is the son of a former congressman and graduated with honours from Yale University, still works regularly as an actor, having recently appeared in episodes of Elementary, Lucifer, Blue Bloods and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
He also teaches Shakespeare in the New York and New Jersey areas.
Many including actor James Woods, compared Owens’ current situation to that of Cosby Show star and creator Bill Cosby, who faces jail after being found guilty of aggravated indecent assault in April, and has been accused of sexually assaulting women over decades.
And he’s making more money than Cosby these days. Good for him. Now maybe some casting director will take note of a fine man who swallows his pride and is willing to work. #GeoffreyOwens https://t.co/B1rkk5vLjC
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 2, 2018
— Charles Adler (@charlesadler) September 3, 2018
Owens played Elvin Tibideaux in The Cosby Show, the Princeton medical student who eventually married Sondra Huxtable, for five seasons.