Hollywood’s biggest names, including Tyler Perry, Halle Berry and Patton Oswalt, have all joined a growing list of celebrities speaking up for former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens who was shamed on social media for working at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.
Following Owens’ appearance on Good Morning America, Bill Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt exclusively told NNPA Newswire that he and the comedian are both proud of Owens.
“There’s nothing wrong with working at Trader Joe’s and I commend him for taking care of his family,” said Wyatt, who noted Cosby was unavailable to comment because he’s continued to closely follow the terms of the court order that has him under house arrest.
Wyatt said Owens and other Cosby Show actors have been victimized by Hollywood studios, which have elected to halt re-runs of the iconic show and all of Cosby’s works.
The result, Wyatt said, is actors like Owens are deprived of potentially lucrative residues cast and writers earn from syndicated shows.
“You take The Cosby Show off the air, yet you leave 7th Heaven on the air and all of Harvey Weinstein’s movies are still playing. Whether it’s on Netflix or Hulu, you can find them everywhere because you don’t want to hurt these Hollywood starlets and take away their money and residue pay, yet you take The Cosby Show off the air,” Wyatt said.
While Cosby was convicted of aggravated indecent assault for an incident that he maintains was consensual, 7th Heaven star Stephen Collins admitted to molesting at least three young girls and Weinstein has been charged with several counts of rape and more than 100 women have come forward accusing the movie mogul of assault.
Sporting his Trader Joe’s badge, Owens appeared on Good Morning America on Sept. 4, one week after Fox News broadcast photos of him stocking shelves at the grocery store.
“No one should feel sorry for me,” said Owens, who played Elvin, the husband of Sandra Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
“I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career and I’ve had a career that most actors would die for,” he said.
The actor noted that he was overwhelmed by the response he’s received after the shaming incident. “I feel like more of a celebrity now than when I actually was a celebrity,” he said.
Since leaving The Cosby Show, Owens has worked part-time as an actor and as a producer.
He has taught acting and directing at Yale and other universities for more than 30 years. But, he said he took the Trader Joe’s job 15 months ago to support his family.
Since the GMA appearance, however, Perry has publicly offered him a role on a popular OWN television show and others like Berry and Oswalt have tweeted support.
“My respect to actor Geoffrey Owens, who found honest work between gigs. As Fox News will tell you, all actors, when not acting, seal themselves in protein-solution ‘shame pods’ until re-activated by the Council of Casting,” Oswalt said.
“Geoffrey had the courage to stand up to the Council,” he said.
Berry, the Oscar-winning actress, also saluted Oswalt.
“Labor Day celebrates the value of our country’s workers. I’m just so sad to hear than an American felt the need to ‘expose’ a man for working hard,” Berry said. “I wish there were more people with as much integrity as Geoffrey Owens.”
For his part, Owens discussed the sanctity and honor of being a working person. Every job is “worthwhile,” he said.
“I hope what doesn’t pass is this: rethinking about what it means to work,” he said. “The honor of the working person and the dignity of work. And I hope that this period we’re in now, where we have a heightened sense about that and a reevaluation of what it means to work, the reevaluation of the idea that some jobs are better than others.”
Wyatt said Owens displayed what The Cosby Show was all about.
“What Mr. Cosby built was legacy. It wasn’t just legacy to show how families should conduct themselves and live in a certain way in society,” he said.
“It was to make sure that these actors were able to survive and enjoy their livelihoods. Yet, [the powers that be] have taken it away.”