Woman Who Took Photo of Geoffrey Owens Working at Trader Joe's Apologizes After Backlash: 'It Wasn't Malicious'

Illustration for article titled Woman Who Took Photo of Geoffrey Owens Working at Trader Joes Apologizes After Backlash: It Wasnt Malicious
Screenshot: GMA

Hindsight is 20/20 and Karma Lawrence (I’ll leave the jokes to you) is learning that the hard way after receiving backlash for taking photos of former The Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens as he worked his shift at an N.J. Trader Joe’s.

Lawrence submitted the photos that she took to a few celebrity websites, and the pictures went viral after the Daily Mail published them. From there, everything quickly went downhill with other actors and online commenters slamming the Mail, and by extension, the person who took the photos, for “job shaming.”


“So much hate. So much nastiness. Oh, it’s been terrible,” Lawrence said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. “They write ‘Karma’s a bitch.’ It’s bad.”

But Lawrence swears she did not intend to cause any harm by taking the photos.

“It wasn’t malicious,” she told the site. “That’s on my kids, my grandkids, my parents. I’m not that type of a person. I’m not the monster they’re making me out to be.”

Karma said she did a Google search and when she realized the story and the photos had gone viral, and saw the backlash, she cried for half an hour. Lawrence has since disconnected her social media profiles, and can’t get over the fact that she unintentionally hurt someone from “her favorite” show.

So why did she take the photo? It was just a bad impulse according to Lawrence.

“I don’t know why I snuck a picture,” the 50-year-old said. “I figured everybody does it. I don’t know what possessed me. I just did it. I didn’t even think about it. I just kind of did it on impulse and it was a bad impulse.”


It wasn’t about “job shaming, although she acknowledged surprise seeing a guy from The Cosby Show working at a local Trader Joe’s. And no, she says she wasn’t looking for a check to be cut, nor was any money exchanged for the photos.

“I actually wanted to go up to him and say something, but I thought, ‘you might embarrass him,’” Lawrence said. “But then I did something that actually embarrassed him more. I didn’t go with my first instinct, and I should’ve. I should’ve.”


Nothing against Trader Joe’s either, according to Lawrence, who says that the grocery store has “the best stuff.”

When I saw him working there I thought maybe because of everything with Bill Cosby that his residuals got cut. And people have to take a normal job. But I didn’t think anything bad about it. I work a normal job,” she added.


Lawrence expressed her desire to reach out to Owens, though she isn’t sure how.

“I would tell him, ‘I am extremely, extremely apologetic about what has happened,’” she said. “And if I could take it back, I would.”


Nonetheless, whatever harm she may have caused Owens has now been turned into Lemonade. In a follow-up interview with Good Morning America, Owens said he has been getting nonstop emails, phone calls, texts and interviews.

“I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined this. What’s a way to get a lot of publicity? Take a job at Trader Joe’s!” he joked.


Even Tyler Perry offered him a job on OWN, something he did not know about until GMA told him.

“It’s certainly very generous of him even to kind of put that out there. It’s certainly very encouraging,” he said.


Perry reiterated that he had major respect for Owens’ hustle.

“I have tremendous respect for a man who has no pride about working. He’s going to do what he has to do to support his family,” Perry told GMA. “I know a lot of people … that refuse to go to work when they’re between acting gigs. When I saw that, I was moved by him. That’s the true measure of a man. The true measure of an artist. I have so much respect for him.”


The show said that both men have been in touch with one another, so we can only wait to see what those two might be cooking up in the kitchen.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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I am nostalgic for the days when not everyone had a camera in their pocket at all times - combined with a societally conditioned, pathological need for attention, and the ability to instantly share said photo with 7+ billion people.