Before “The Cosby Show” ended in 1992, actor Geoffrey Owens played the character Elvin Tibideaux on NBC’s hit comedy series for five seasons. He’s continued working through the years as an actor but, as is the case in most creative industries, actors often do many other jobs to make ends meet. This is not news.
Owens was seen a few days ago working in a Clifton, New Jersey, Trader Joe’s by a shopper who recognized the actor, then was compelled to take a photo of him. The customer, Karma Lawrence, told the Daily Mail it made her feel bad that after all those years on “The Cosby Show,” Owens “ended up as a cashier.”
Fox News and Daily Mail chose to not only report this but also, in the view of many, basically shame a man for having a “regular” job and framing it with the negative connotation of “bagging groceries.”
'Cosby Show' actor Geoffrey Owens spotted bagging groceries at NJ Trader Joe's https://t.co/bhkxWYa9gq
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 31, 2018
People from all walks of life, across the political spectrum (including conservative actor James Woods and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch), came to Owens’ defense on social media, slamming Fox News and Daily Mail for the slants on their stories.
See more photos of Geoffrey Owens through the years:
Some also took note of the contrast between Owens’ situation and that of the star of the show that made him a celebrity, Bill Cosby, who faces sentencing later this month on felony convictions stemming from a sexual assault.
I was “spotted”
doing yard work,
& riding as a bike messenger.
I am also a lawyer, professor, mininster & activist.
Like #geoffreyowens & other brothers, I am NOT ASHAMED to be a “#BMW,” Black Man Working. https://t.co/v6mdTkn990
— 𝐑𝐞𝐯. 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦 𝐁𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 (@CornellWBrooks) September 2, 2018
Owens, 57, graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1983 and regularly teaches Shakespeare in the New York and New Jersey area. He’s made appearances on shows such as “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “Lucifer” and “Elementary.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.