Actor Geoffrey Owens opened up to CNN on Tuesday about being thrust into the spotlight after he made headlines for working as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey.
Owens, who’s best known for his role as Elvin Tibideaux on “The Cosby Show,” which aired from 1985 to 1992, told CNN in an interview on Tuesday that he was hurt when The Daily Mail first reported the story last week.
But the 57-year-old actor has received an outpouring of love and support from fans and even a job offer from Tyler Perry.
“I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure if a true artist,” Tyler tweeted Tuesday morning.
#GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) September 4, 2018
What did Owens say?
He told CNN that the “sting” he felt from headlines that shamed him for working at a grocery store quickly turned into hope.
“I was only devastated for an hour or two,” Owens told CNN. “It was hurtful but very short lived. What has been sustained, now over days, is how much love and support there is. Not just for me, but for working people. The idea that, ‘Hey, what’s wrong with working at Trader Joe’s, or any job like that?”
The actor said he had worked at Trader Joe’s for about 15 months, but left a couple of weeks ago when he learned there was a news story in the works about his job at the grocery store.
“I didn’t feel like I could work in that environment,” Owens said about the prospect of people spying on him and asking questions for a story.
“And in the past 26 years, I have hardly had an acting job that lasted more than 10 weeks and most of those jobs were theater jobs which pay a lot less than television and film,” Owens explained. “I needed to take a job to pay my bills, to support my family. It was basically that.”
He said there’s an important take away from his experience.
“Essentially, one kind of work is not better, superior, than another kind of work and that we re-evaluate that whole idea and just honoring the dignity of work and respecting the dignity of the working person,” Owens said.
Did he accept Perry’s job offer?
Owens was not aware of Perry’s offer at first, since he doesn’t have a Twitter account, The New York Post reported.
He learned about Perry’s offer to work on OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning.
“It’s certainly very generous of him even to kind of put that out there. It’s certainly very encouraging,” Owens said after he was told about it.
The two men have since been in touch and Owens has accepted the job.