Until a few days ago, it felt like the ascendancy of actor Jonathan Majors to Hollywood's stratosphere was a foregone conclusion. Starting with his breakout indie role in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, into his star turn on HBO's prestige horror series Lovecraft Country and into his twin villain roles in Creed III and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, his career has been on fire. He's the big-bad Kang the Conqueror for the current phase of the Marvel MCU, he's hosted SNL, he narrated ads for the U.S. Army. What could go wrong?
Well, something happened over the weekend between Majors, 33, and his 30-year-old girlfriend, who accused the actor of assault, leading him to be arrested Saturday and charged with misdemeanor assault, aggravated harassment, attempted assault, and harassment. Some outlets are reporting that accusations of strangulation were involved in the arrest. A judge in Manhattan Criminal Court released Majors without bail the same day and Majors will apparently be back in court in early May.
Here's where things get very fuzzy and what we know so far. The incident—or whatever led to the charges—apparently happened during a taxi ride while the pair were returning from a Brooklyn bar. TMZ says the pair got into a fight over phone texts and that this is what led to the alleged fight.
However, Team Majors says the incident, if anything, was caused by the woman. Priya Chaudhry, the actor's lawyer, released a statement to press claiming there's video footage of what happened and that it'll vindicate Majors. "Jonathan Majors is completely innocent and provably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows," Chaudhry's statement says. She claims the charges will be dropped immediately once evidence is presented. She also threw some dirt at the woman in question, saying, "Unfortunately, this incident came about because this woman was having an emotional crisis, for which she was taken to a hospital yesterday."
The lawyer says Majors himself called 911 from an apartment in Chelsea; USA Today, however, reports that the NYPD has confirmed the call was made by a woman. Chaudhry also said witnesses, including the taxi driver, would exonerate Majors. She added that the girlfriend has two written statements recanting the allegations, which, if they exist, weren't shared publicly.
Majors, who has previously said he has "no interest in the f**kery of the industry," nevertheless is feeling the fallout of what did or did not happen. The U.S. Army pulled advertisements with Majors’ voiceovers, saying in a statement, "We are deeply concerned by the allegations surrounding the arrest." The Army says it'll pause the ads at least until the investigation is complete. The ads, aimed at potential Gen-Z recruits, are detailed in a story by The Hollywood Reporter.
Despite some misleading headlines online, Marvel has not spoken out about what happened or how they'll handle Kang the Conqueror in upcoming MCU movies.
Online reaction, of course, is super mixed. Slash Film has already declared that "the year of Jonathan Majors comes to a halt" with the assault allegations, lamenting that he has work in the can, like the upcoming film Magazine Dreams, that was expected to wow critics and audiences in December. Majors also has an upcoming role as Dennis Rodman in a movie called 48 Hours in Vegas. Some outlets are debating if there will be a huge career impact, while others wonder if people will rush to judgment. (Spoiler: Yes. Yes, they will.)
Two directors in the entertainment industry tweeted messages alluding to Majors having a history of abusive behavior. Those tweets were either deleted or set to private, but have been making the rounds as screenshots on social media.
And Newsweek, ever classy, wrote an entire piece comparing the case to Flash star Ezra Miller's troubles, including felony charges and accusations of abusing women. The only thing the cases would seem to have in common is the superhero connection; it doesn't establish a pattern of behavior on the Majors side of things.
So what happens now? If there are statements from the woman recanting her story, it would seem smart to release those now instead of waiting for the story to percolate until May. Industry watchers are waiting to see if Marvel has any response; lucky for the studio that Quantumania was already released before this happened. If Majors has anything to say about the accusations, he's so far remaining quiet and speaking only through his legal team.
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