What’s wrong with working for a living?
That’s what supporters of Geoffrey Owens are asking as they defend the “Cosby Show” actor after a number of media reports, including one from Fox News, showed him now working at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.
“It made me feel really bad,” the woman who originally spotted him and posted images of him on social media told the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “I was like, ‘Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.’”
Many were outraged by the implication that Owens should somehow be ashamed for working a day job.
Owens played the son-in-law of Bill Cosby’s character on the classic sitcom from 1985 to 1992. The 57-year-old is still a working actor, with 41 acting credits, according to Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN, +0.52% IMDB, and teaches acting as well. But a number of actors have pointed out that the vast majority in their profession are not millionaires, and for most, acting is not a full-time job.
Some pointed out that as a veteran character actor, Owens gets paid far less that a regular on a TV series. He has likely been receiving residuals from “The Cosby Show” for decades, though it’s unlikely to be enough to live on — especially now that reruns of the show have been pulled from syndication after Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault. And while the Screen Actors Guild offers insurance benefits, at 57, Owens may need more coverage that he is eligible for.
As far as retail jobs go, Trader Joe’s is pretty good. The grocery chain is on Glassdoor’s 100 best places to work in 2018, pays an above-average minimum wage, offers annual bonuses and provides health insurance and retirement benefits for even part-time workers.
“That man is honorable, has dignity, respectful, doing what he needs to do for himself and his family,” actress Tami Roman said Saturday on Instagram. “And there is no shame in that!”