When did Working an Honest Job Become a Shameful Thing?

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It seems that every time you watch the news, log into social media or turn on the radio, you are hearing more stories of individuals who feel it’s their job and duty to either body shame another, call others names based on their skin color, religion, financial status and now we have people shaming an actor for taking a job to supplement his income while he’s acting. An honest living to pay the bills and keep food on the table for his family, but he has a photo taken of him working and plastered on social media and people start shaming and attacking him for working an honest job.

I don’t understand what this world is coming to, there’s way too much name-calling, disrespecting and humiliating one another and it seems to be getting worse than better. You don’t see people shaming the burglars, drug dealers, shoplifters and gangsters out on the streets about the lives they live and what they consider their jobs.  This is not a representation of what and who we are as people and sure isn’t making a positive impact on our young children who are already faced with the inevitable day to day.  It doesn’t matter if one washes dishes, sweeps floors or feeds cattle to supplement their income,  as long as they are working an honest job and taking care of their families.

One of the many stories that have been circulating social media has been the one of former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s supermarket. The story along with photos has garnered a strong reaction from fans and celebrities alike.

Owens is best known for playing the Huxtables’ son-in-law, Elvin Tibideaux, in the popular sitcom from 1985 to 1992. In August 2018, a customer shopping at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey recognized him working there and took pictures of him weighing potatoes and bagging groceries.

Owens had been working at the grocery store for more than a year but had apparently kept that fact from his son. He has since quit due to the overwhelming attention that made it impossible to do his job.

“Even before the wave of support rolled in within an hour or two, he sent me a beautiful text back about how proud he was of me. I cried, I just broke down,” the actor admitted. “He felt the opposite of embarrassment. He was so proud that I had taken the job. It was beautiful.”

Naturally, after the photos went viral, they sparked outrage from many who believed Owens was being job-shamed. After the outrage, there were questions raised about just how much TV actors really make. Of course, there are some TV stars who are paid very well, many making hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode but that’s not the case with everyone, especially those who have smaller roles on the shows in which Owens did in the tv shows he appeared in.

On September, 4th, Owens appeared on Good Morning America to explain just how he felt about his picture being taken and the response he has gotten.

“I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short,” Owens said on the morning show as he proudly sported his Trader Joe’s name tag. “My wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world. Fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long.”

He went on to say that he took the job at the grocery store because it allowed him the “flexibility” he needed to stay in the entertainment business.

Owens still acts and has been teaching acting classes for several years. He has a net worth of $300,000. In addition to his work on The Cosby Show over the years, Owens has appeared on episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, That’s So Raven, Boston Legal, Las Vegas, Medium, Without a Trace, Flashforward, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Affair.

Owens worked at Trader Joe’s for 15 months but had to quit because of the unwanted attention, however, the company said that he is welcome to come back anytime.

Tyler Perry seems to have offered him a job. “#Geoffrey Owns I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!!” Perry tweeted on Tuesday.
I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.

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