No shame: Soap stars take pride in their non-acting jobs, defend Geoffrey Owens after he is job-shamed

Posted Monday, September 03, 2018 1:53:10 PM

While some people are shaming The Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens for having to take a "regular" job bagging groceries, daytime stars are urging people to bag their judgment.

People across the nation are celebrating a three-day weekend for Labor Day, a holiday meant to honor to the labor movement. But rather than putting away their computers and firing up the grill, many people are firing off their opinions about one particular worker, instead: former The Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens.

The actor, who played Elvin Tibideaux on the 1980s sitcom, was photographed bagging groceries at Trader Joe's over the weekend, and when news outlets began covering the story, social media went crazy. Some of the responses were supportive, but some were meant to shame. Those from soap stars were overwhelmingly sympathetic, with many sharing their own stories of working "regular" jobs that have nothing to do with acting.

"After I left GH in 2013, I immediately signed up to be an Uber driver," shared Bradford Anderson (Damian Spinelli, General Hospital). "In this business there are peaks and valleys and you never know how long they'll last. No shame in making a living. Only shame in mocking others."

"I couldn't possibly agree more," wrote Chrishell Hartley (Jordan Ridgeway, Days of our Lives; ex-Amanda Dillon, All My Children) in response to Anderson's tweet. "I got the same judgement by some when I went for my real estate license."

"The acting profession is tough," wrote Wally Kurth (Ned Ashton, GH; Justin Kiriakis, Days of our Lives). "How can people criticize a hard working man?"

"As soon as I moved home from LA I got a waitress job," shared Kristen Alderson (ex-Kiki Jerome, GH; ex-Starr Manning, One Life to Live). "I was SO excited about it. I had a blast. Worked there for a 1 year & 1/2 . I have more respect for the people I worked w/ there than many I had worked with in 'the business.' No one should feel shamed for their job."

"Anyone ridiculing anyone else for doing honest work is a POS," wrote Lisa Locicero (Olivia Falconeri, GH).

As most people in the entertainment industry know, actors have long been part of the gig economy. Roles (and their benefits) come and go, almost always unpredictably. And that means that side jobs with flexible hours are a fact of life -- oftentimes even after an actor gains recognition and is considered "successful."

Owens, for example, has a long history of non-acting work in addition to his performing credits. Though he has had roles on shows like The Cosby Show, Elementary, The Blacklist, Divorce, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he has also taught acting at Primary Stages, Columbia University, and Yale.

"I've delivered flowers, did security and sold paintings out of a truck," wrote Chris McKenna (ex-Mark Harding, The Young and the Restless) of the myriad of non-acting positions he's held over the years. "Shove your shaming."

"I think the bigger issue is the audacity of judging the value of an actor on a hit series verses the bagger at Trader Joes," says Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis). "NO ONE is more special than anyone else. NO ONE'S job is more special than anyone elses. We're all the made up of the same stuff & are all worthy of respect."

Wrote David Fumero (ex-Christian Vega, OLTL): "So we're not elites after all. Just regular folks that do what it takes to survive and support a family. Good for him!"

Julie Berman (ex-Lulu Spencer, GH) wrote: "Got a job as a hostess when I left General Hospital. Many didn't understand why I'd leave GH without another acting gig waiting for me. (If only we could all be so lucky). This is what dedication to your artistic happiness actually looks like."

"I was bartending full time in West Hollywood this time last year," shared Martha Madison (Belle Black, Days of our Lives). "When you're an actor, you often have to mitigate periods of unemployment. I can only imagine why Fox News felt this was newsworthy, but there is nothing shameful about working and providing for your family."

What do you think about the response to Geoffrey Owens working a "regular" job? How do you feel about actors taking on non-acting jobs? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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