It turns out that one of the factors that led Geoffrey Owens to work at Trader Joe’s is Bill Cosby’s fall from grace.
Owens told PEOPLE magazine that his household income was significantly affected by his Cosby Show residual checks ceasing to arrive after the show’s creator was embroiled in a sexual assault scandal.
“Yes, it impacted me financially. At the time that the show was pulled, that did make a difference in our income,” he revealed. “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. ”
Owens added, “But I got to the point, I just had to do something to support myself and my family.”
Cosby was convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 after more than a half-dozen women testified that the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted them.
Owens appreciated the extra income that his stint on the show, where he portrayed Elvin Tibideaux from 1985 to 1992, provided. Still, he didn’t expect that The Cosby Show would provide him with enough to sustain himself for the rest of his life.
“I didn’t think I was set for life,” he said. “I was single at the time, no family, and The Cosby Show paid me some fairly decent money for a single guy who never even expected to be on TV and was just happy to be doing theater. I felt like I had plenty of money, but set for life, no. But I was fine.”
While Owens didn’t foresee himself working at Trader Joe’s, he was happy to pitch in to help his family, and he was deeply upset by someone’s attempt to shame him for doing so.
“I felt really humiliated,” said Owens. “They went out of their way to find the very worst picture of me, in the worst shirt and the worst posture. The words they used to describe me were so demeaning. It hurt.”
He has been offered everything from guaranteed television roles, to thousands of dollars in cash since the photo appeared in the public eye, but Owens’ focus is still building a career his own way.
“I’m going to keep pursuing it. I’m going to persevere. And even if that means, that eventually when all this hoopla dies down, I might need to take another job outside of the business. I’m still willing to do that,” he said.