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Outpouring of Support for Actor in Retail-Shaming Photo

Geoffrey Owens was doing what many freelance workers do during a down season—working a regular retail shift—when someone took a photo that upended his incognito existence.

A customer recognized Owens, who starred on The Cosby Show for five seasons, and snapped a photo of him working as a clerk at a local Trader Joe’s market. That person then sold the photo to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, which published the photo as part of a snarky, where-are-they-now exposé, with a headline that read: “From reading lines to serving the long line!”

"It made me feel really bad,” the shopper told The Daily Mail. “I was like, 'Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.'"

However, the attempt at shaming the actor backfired, as people around the nation expressed their support, not only for Owens as a talented actor but as someone engaging in hourly work. Comedian and filmmaker Judd Apatow retweeted the words of comedic actor Tony Atamanuik: “Geoffrey Owens is a testament to the dignity of work, and to frame it as anything else is ignorant.”

The groundswell of support was so strong that Owens ended up doing a segment on the Today Show, and as a result, has since landed roles on the CBS drama NCIS: New Orleans and the Tyler Perry drama The Haves and Have Nots, airing on OWN.

Potential Preaching Angles:

There is dignity in all forms of work, not just the high-profile jobs. All of us have roles in the community and none are more important than others.


Tony Dokoupil, “Stars defend ‘Cosby Show’ actor from ‘job-shaming’ after photos of him bagging groceries go viral” CBS News (9-03-18)

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