Actor Geoffrey Owens, the former “The Cosby Show” star who was job-shamed last month for working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s, is paying forward some of the goodwill he’s received.
Owens was showered with support and a few job offers after The Daily Mail published photos of him working between acting gigs at the supermarket chain in New Jersey. He’s since decided to donate the $25,000 that rapper Nicki Minaj gave him to other struggling actors.
“I would like to give this donation of 25K to the Actor’s Fund in memory of the late, great Earle Hyman — who played Cosby’s father, ‘Russell’, on The Cosby Show — who lived his last many years and died at the Actors’ Home, (funded and run by the Actor’s Fund),” Owens told TMZ in a statement.
“He lived his last many years and died at the Actors’ Home, [funded and run by the Actor’s Fund],” he added. “I am extremely grateful to Nicki Minaj for enabling struggling actors to continue pursuing their dreams.”
For years, Owens played Elvin Tibideaux on “The Cosby Show,” but his career stalled after the show ended in 1992, save for one-off appearances on series like “Lucifer” and “The Slap.”
The photos of him at the supermarket ― where he no longer works because of the publicity ― stirred outrage. Minaj called the job-shaming “toxic & disgusting” and pledged to donate $25,000 to Owens.
“This man is a whole f—ing legend,” the rapper said during an episode of her radio show Queen Radio on Beats 1. “That man is now getting so many opportunities.”
Owens, after receiving her check, chose to donate the money to other actors who might’ve fallen on hard times.
The Actor’s Fund is a self described “safety net” for people working in entertainment fields that provides services ranging from health care, affordable housing and career development programs to thousands of people each year.
Minaj apparently approved of Owens’ charity choice and said she was “happy to be a part of a great cause.”
“I wish Geoffrey much success and want him to know how loved he is,” she told the outlet. “Rest in Peace to Earle Hyman.”
Since the publicity, Owens has booked a guest role on a forthcoming episode of “NCIS: New Orleans,” and has accepted an offer from Tyler Perry to recur on his new OWN television show, “The Haves and The Have Nots.”
“It came out of nowhere,” Owens said of his turn of fortune on a recent “Good Morning America” appearance. “I really want to thank everybody out there for the incredible support … that they’ve shown for me. It’s quite astounding.”