Celebrities & Pop Culture

Tyler Perry Offered ‘Cosby Show’ Actor A Job After He Was Shamed For Working At Trader Joe’s

"I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs."

No one should be humiliated for the type of job they have. Yet that’s exactly what happened to “The Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens last week after photos of him bagging groceries at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey surfaced online.

A customer snapped pictures of Owens and they were published in the UK’s Daily Mail and on Fox News. Many people reacted negatively to the photos being published, saying that no one — including Owens — should be shamed for their job.

On Tuesday, Owens told “Good Morning America”‘s Robin Ross that he took the position at Trader Joe’s because it offered “flexibility” while he pursued acting gigs. And now, one of those opportunities comes by way of Tyler Perry, who, inspired by Owens’ work ethic, took to Twitter to offer the 57-year-old actor a role on one of his shows.

“I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs,” Perry wrote in his tweet to Owens, who worked at Trader Joe’s for 15 months. “The measure of a true artist.”

Owens, for his part, said during his “Good Morning America” interview that, while he appreciated Perry’s offer, he “wouldn’t feel comfortable getting acting jobs from this event,” as he wants to earn his jobs.

“I wouldn’t mind getting auditions,” he continued, explaining “I want to get a job because I’m the right person for that job.”

Owens has since quit his job at Trader Joe’s over the attention. He made clear on “GMA” that he is extremely proud of his career and feels lucky as an actor. In addition to “The Cosby Show,” on which he appeared from 1985 until 1992, he has also been on “Divorce,” “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “The Secret Life Of The American Teenager,” “Blue Bloods” and “The Affair.”

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Owens also said during his “GMA” interview that, at first, he was “really devastated” after the photos became public. But the actor, who wore his Trader Joe’s name tag proudly during the interview, added that the shame was short-lived because of the “amazing” support he’s received from a number of celebrities, including producer Judd Apatow, Terry Crews, Pamela Heaton and Pamela Adlon.

Fans also took to social media to support Owens. One Twitter user, @KavehAkbar, recalled his time working at Trader Joe’s and expressed his “admiration and gratitude” for the veteran entertainer.

Karma Lawrence, the woman who took the photos of Owens, has since expressed regret for what she did. She told People that she didn’t know what “possessed” her to sneak the picture. “I just kind of did it on impulse and it was a bad impulse,” she explained.

“I actually wanted to go up to him and say something, but I thought, you might embarrass him,” she continued. “But then I did something that actually embarrassed him more. I didn’t go with my first instinct, and I should’ve.”