Owens appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday and said after 15 months working at the store he chose to quit because of all the attention he was gaining.
Social media reaction was swift. But because of the instant and worldwide response, "the shame part didn't last very long". Owens, who played Elvin between 1985 and 1992 on the show, was spotted by a customer working as a cashier at the Allwood Road store. After the show ended in 1991, he continued acting, appearing in hit shows like "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" and "Elementary". He started working at Trader Joe's because the hours were flexible enough to go out on auditions and take more acting jobs.
With the new found fame, Roberts asked Owens if he's received any calls for roles and Owens said he would only accept a role if he was the best fit for the job. "It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a résumé or on paper, but actually, it's not better". "But actually, it's not better".
Watch his full interview (below). As soon as I heard this story was in the works, I resigned because I didn't feel that for my peace of mind and my dignity that I was going to be able to function there in a positive way, spiritually and emotionally ... "If we have a rethinking about that because of what's happened to me, that would be great", Owens said.
"I didn't advertise that I was at Trader Joe's, not that I was ashamed of it but because I didn't want the entertainment community deciding, 'Well, he's doing that, he's not pursuing acting anymore.' I felt like I had to be careful about that".
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"#GeoffreyOwens I'm about to start shooting OWN's number one drama next week! I want to get a job because I'm the right person for this job".
"Family Ties" actress Justine Bateman (also of "80s TV fame), chastised the person who took Owens" picture while he was "earning an honest living".
"I needed a job, no shame in that".
A former Cosby Show actor is speaking out after a photograph surfaced showing him working at a grocery store in what many perceived as an attempt to shame him for his job. Actor Blair Underwood tweeted that Owens is "being a man in doing what he needs to do to provide for himself and his family".
Owens did not respond to requests for comment, but he thanked supporters on Instagram, posting, "There's no shame in hard work". "Much respect to you Sir!"