After the photo of former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens went viral. He was met with support from his peers within the entertainment industry, as well as many fans.
Now the woman who took the photo is speaking out, and she says that when she took the photo, it wasn’t to shame the actor, and she’s now apologetic for her actions.
NJ.com sat down with Karma Lawrence, the woman who snuck the photo of the actor inside of the grocery store. In the interview, she revealed that she has been getting so much hate since the photos have spread.
Lawrence explained she recalled watching “The Cosby Show” when she was younger, and, in her surprise, snuck a picture as she was cashing out at her local grocery store.
“When I saw him working there I thought maybe because of everything with Bill Cosby that his residuals got cut,” she explained. “And people have to take a normal job. But I didn’t think anything bad about it. I work a normal job.”
Owens had actually been working at the store for 15 months, and later said on “Good Morning America” that he has been recognized almost daily by shoppers.
“I didn’t advertise that I was at Trader Joe’s, not because I was ashamed of it,” he said, “but because I didn’t want the entertainment community to decide, ’He’s doing that, he’s not pursuing acting anymore.’”
But, inspired by all the paparazzi shots she sees online, Lawrence sent the photo to celebrity websites and the situation got out of hand.
She began to get hate mail to her own social media accounts from both normal people and celebrities, accusing her of “job shaming.”
Even the SAG-AFTRA Foundation emphasized that many actors take day jobs to support their families.
“So much hate. So much nastiness. Oh, it’s been terrible,” Lawrence said. “They write Karma’s a b****. It’s bad.”
She said she didn’t realize she had gone viral until much later, and cried for half an hour when she began reading the headlines.
“It wasn’t malicious,” she said. “I actually wanted to go up to him and say something, but I thought, you might embarrass him. But then I did something that actually embarrassed him more. I didn’t go with my first instinct, and I should’ve.”
While Owens said on “Good Morning America” that he was originally “devastated” when the news of his day job came out, he is happy for “all the amazing support” the acting community has since given him.
Owens no longer works at the Trader Joe’s due to all the publicity, but the grocery chain says they would welcome him back if he ever wished to return.