Geoffrey Owens, who played Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show for seven years, appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday to assure fans he’s doing fine after Fox News outed his side gig as a cashier at Trader Joe’s.
The Aug. 31 Fox article, titled, “‘Cosby Show’ actor Geoffrey Owens spotted bagging groceries at NJ Trader Joe’s,” went viral after fans and fellow actors argued that the news outlet seemingly shamed Owens for trying to earn a respectable living.
“Geoffrey Owens has zero to feel ashamed of. If anything he’s a true man for not letting pride stop him from doing whatever he needs to to make sure his bills are paid,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “That’s something to be very proud of.”
Geoffrey Owens has zero to feel ashamed of. if anything he's a true man for not letting pride stop him from doing whatever he needs to to make sure his bills are paid. that's something to be very proud of
— KK (@kharizzmaaa) September 4, 2018
Although Owens found the support heartening, he doesn’t want the public to pity him.
“No one should feel sorry for me,” the Trader Joe’s employee of 15 months told GMA anchor Robin Roberts. “I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!”
Additionally, the 57-year-old — who once taught acting to undergraduates at Yale University — is hopeful the controversy will make people think twice before job-shaming someone.
“I hope that this period that we’re in now, where we have a heightened sensitivity about that, and a reevaluation of what it means to work and the idea that some jobs are better than others — that’s actually not true,” the actor said.
Proudly wearing his Trader Joe’s name tag, he added: “There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”
Shortly after Owens’ interview aired on ABC, actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry took to Twitter to offer him a job.
“#GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!!” Perry tweeted. “I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.”
#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
It’s unclear at this time if the Cosby Show alum has reached out to Perry about the offer.
Watch Owens’ full interview with Roberts below.