"The Cosby Show" co-star Geoffrey Owens is being defended for earning a paycheck.
A Trader Joe's customer shared a now-viral photo showing the actor bagging groceries. Some made light of Owens for his job, but many others, actors and otherwise, supported him.
Owens played Elvin on the show. He was the doctor husband of Sondra Huxtable, one of Bill Cosby's daughters on the show.
Some 25 years later, the Yale graduate has a job at a grocery store. He was put in the spotlight for it when shopper Karma Lawrence snapped a photo of the 57-year-old and sent it to the news outlet The Daily Mail.
It quoted her as saying, in part, "Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier."
"You're shaming a black man for doing a job, providing for his family, providing for himself," said Kearny resident Samantha Cordova. "I don't think that's right."
Support is pouring in for Owens, including from Gabrielle Carteris, the president of the actors union SAG-AFTRA.
"If you're on a big show or not, the truth is people are paid different salaries at different times in their lives," Carteris said. "So shame, that's what I'll say as the SAG-AFTRA president. Shame on anybody who would make fun of somebody really working."
Owens did not respond to requests for comment, but he thanked supporters on Instagram, posting, "There's no shame in hard work."
Customers at the Trader Joe's said he's regularly there and most of them had no idea he was an actor.
Customer Melissa Davis said next time she sees him, she'll tell him to keep up the good work - whether it's on TV or behind the counter.
"(He) greets and very pleasant, overall pretty much like any Trader Joe's employee," she said.