Actor Geoffrey Owens was met with overwhelming applause at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) on Sunday (Jan. 27) as he delivered a short, yet moving speech about the darkest moment of his career. Despite becoming the target of viral ridicule and up to his neck in debt, Owens explained why he chose not to switch careers.
“Somewhere in the middle of the road of my life, I found myself in the dark wood of unemployment and debt, but instead of switching careers like a sane person, I took a job at the local Trader Joe’s to see if I could hang in there with my career, and it’s actually worked out pretty well,” Owens said. “I’m Geoffrey Owens and I am an actor.”
As previously reported, The Cosby Show actor became the center of attention in 2018, after someone posted a photo of him bagging groceries at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey. While the person attempted to shame him, fans and actors in Hollywood jumped to his defense. Tyler Perry offered the actor a job on his series The Have and Have Nots, and Nicki Minaj gifted him with $25,000, to which he donated to charity.
Of the controversy, Owens told Good Morning America at the time: “I was really devastated, but it lasted ― the period of devastation was so short. There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better. It might have better benefits. It might look better on a resume or on paper. But, actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable. If we have a kind of a rethinking about that because of what’s happened to me, that would be great. No one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or negative perspective. I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career … I’m doing fine.”
Check of Geoffrey Owens’ speech down below (at the 00:43 mark) in a series speeches during the SAG Award opening monologue.