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The Mean-Spirited Tweet About Cosby‘s Geoffrey Owens Inspires Outpouring of Support

Actors, writers and artists take to Twitter to reveal the truth about surviving in the entertainment industry.


It is a constant struggle to make a living as an artist. Jobs are scarce, the pay is low, and the skill set is consistently devalued. This is especially true in the entertainment industry. While show business has a long and glamorous history of movie stars and massive paychecks, the actual truth is that only a handful of lucky actors get to enjoy the rarefied air of living on the A-list. The rest are constantly hustling, living from paycheck to paycheck and gig to gig.

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This week, Fox News tweeted about former Cosby actor Geoffrey Owens, who was spotted working as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey. Owens played Elvin Tibideaux on the long-running series, and has since made guest appearances in shows like Divorce and Lucifer. Owens is a working actor, but that hardly equates to steady employment and livable wages.

Actors and writers were quick to call out the classist nature of the tweet and share the realities of struggling to make it in Hollywood.

Tweets like these not only support Owens, but they give us a glimpse into the struggles and hardships inherent in pursuing a career in the arts. They also shine a light on our culture’s obsession with wealth, status and success. We continually value superficial markers of achievement (money, cars, clothes) over personal fulfillment and satisfaction. How else do you explain the cultural domination of people like the Kardashians and the Donald Trumps of the world.

Social media does not help in this aspect either, as we are consistently shown curated images and lifestyles of obscene wealth and privilege to aspire to. It’s not evil to want to be wealthy or successful. Those things make life easier. But by ignoring or making fun of the struggle, you’re alienating everyone out there hustling to realize their dreams.

Geoffrey Owens is a working actor. He also works at Trader Joe’s, and he teaches acting. To try and shame him for making an honest living and supporting his family is cruel and gross, and everything that is wrong with our values system.

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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