Geoffrey Owens Launches Instagram Show Shift Happens 2 Years After Trader Joe's Job-Shaming
The Cosby Show actor was job-shamed in 2018 after photos went viral of him working at a Trader Joe's in New Jersey
Owens, best known for his role as Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show from 1985 to 1992, will be interviewing working people for his show, he said in an introduction video shared to Instagram on Sunday.
During the video, Owens also reflected on the job-shaming incident and its aftermath.
"It's been exactly two years now since I was job-shamed on the internet and social media for taking a job at Trader Joe's," he said. "As you know, that whole thing didn't go as the shamers planned."
After photos of Owens working at a Trader Joe's in New Jersey were released in 2018, the former actor received overwhelming love and support from fans and fellow colleagues in the industry.
Owens accepted producer/filmmaker Tyler Perry‘s offer to appear on his hit OWN drama, The Haves and the Have Nots. He also also received $25,000 from Nicki Minaj but graciously opted to pass along the funds to other actors who are in need, donating the amount to the Actor’s Fund in memory of the late Earle Hyman, who played Cliff’s father on The Cosby Show. His recent credits also include Power and Bless This Mess.
"A lot of good things happened to me, but the best thing of that whole thing was that people started to think about and talk about work in a different way," Owens said. "They started considering the dignity of work, even the nobility of work, considering that some jobs are not necessarily better than others and that all work matters. "
"And now with the COVID crisis," he added, "these ideas are more relevant and significant than ever. Not only are we acknowledging that all work matters, but we're also realizing that a lot of the people that, let's face it, do the jobs that we didn't think much of before, are actually heroes."
Speaking to PEOPLE in 2018, Owens said that he was “hurt” and “humiliated" by the unflattering photos of him at the Trader Joe's.
"The words they used to describe me were so demeaning,” he said. “It hurt.”
RELATED VIDEO: Geoffrey Owens Grateful for Son’s Response after Job Shaming: ‘I Knew Everything Was Going to Be Okay’
Owens previously revealed to PEOPLE that the Bill Cosby scandal was just one of the factors that led him to seek work outside of his industry. He had been receiving royalties from the show for years, but when Cosby, 83, was accused and later convicted of sexual assault, reruns were pulled from syndications, and the checks stopped coming.
“Yes, it impacted me financially,” he said at the time. “At the time that the show was pulled, that did make a difference in our income. That was one of the elements that led to my getting to the place where I said to myself, ‘I have to do something,’ and I was thinking, ‘What can I do?’ and the answer ended up being Trader Joe’s, which is actually a wonderful situation for me in many ways. But I got to the point — I just had to do something to support myself and my family.”