What’s Going on With Jonathan Majors?
“Jonathan Majors" — that's the name of an A-list celebrity if ever there were one. And the actor bearing that name was fast on his way to becoming a cinema superstar. A charismatic, compelling performer with the musculature of a Greek god, Majors had scored a deal with Marvel Studios to play the lead villain, Kang the Conqueror, in phase six of the MCU's $30 billion franchise. Majors was set.
Until a New York jury convicted him of harassing and assaulting his ex-girlfriend. In the wake of the verdict, Majors' management company and PR firm have quit, he and Marvel have, as they say, “parted ways," and several other projects are now in limbo. Nothing quite like domestic abuse charges to crater a promising career.
Who Is Jonathan Majors?
After graduating from Yale School of Drama with a Master of Fine Arts, Majors was cast as struggling playwright Jimmie Falls in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. In her review of the film, New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis dubbed Majors a “mournful heartbreaker." Majors received a Primetime Emmy nomination for his performance in the HBO horror series, Lovecraft Country.
With that, his career took off. He played Nat Love in the western, The Harder They Fall, and Jesse L. Brown in the war film, Devotion, before breaking out as the antagonist opposite Michael B. Jordan in Creed III. Majors received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a steroid-infused amateur bodybuilder in Magazine Dreams, which after debuting at Sundance was acquired by a Disney subsidiary in anticipation of a wide theatrical release.
But the role of Kang promised to make Majors a household name. Marvel introduced different variants of the character in the Disney+ series Loki and then made him the villain in the blockbuster, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Majors was to reprise the role in the upcoming MCU ensemble films, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars in Marvel's Multiverse Saga.
That all changed in March 2023. On March 25, 2023, Majors was arrested on assault and harassment charges after his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, accused him of assaulting her in a private car after she took his phone to read a text from another woman. She claimed that he fractured her finger when he took his phone away and that after she tried to follow him leaving the car, he hit her on the back of the head and forced her back in, cutting her behind her right ear.
Majors denied assaulting Jabbari and claimed that she was the aggressor. Jabbari was subsequently arrested, but charges against her were later dropped.
State v. Majors
Majors' trial on four misdemeanor counts took nearly two weeks. Jabbari testified that he was often violent and abusive during their two-year relationship, saying that Majors in an explosive rage would scream at her, scold her, and even throw things at her. She indicated that the March 2023 incident was the culmination of a long history of abuse.
But it may have been an audio recording that did Majors in. The state offered into evidence a recording of Majors, in which he commands Jabbari to treat him as Michelle Obama and Coretta Scott-King treated their husbands. “I'm a great man. A great man. I am doing great things," Majors said. “The woman that supports me, the one I support, needs to be a great woman and make sacrifices." The jury may have heard this and concluded that Majors was a misogynistic narcissist.
Majors was convicted of two counts of harassment and assault. The jury acquitted him of one count of intentional assault in the third degree and one count of aggravated harassment in the second degree. Majors' sentencing is scheduled for February 6. He faces up to a year in prison.
Prison time may be the least of Majors' professional concerns. His career is in the tank. Since his arrest, he has been losing ad deals left and right. For example, the U.S. Army postponed a recruitment campaign featuring him, and the Texas Rangers removed him from their 2023 season ad campaign.
Not to mention his evaporating film and television roles. In addition to parting ways with Marvel, Majors will no longer star in the film adaptation of Walter Moseley's The Man in My Basement or the Fifth Season's Otis and Zelma. Disney removed Magazine Dreams from its theatrical release calendar, and while Majors was announced to be a part of Spike Lee's, Da Understudy, there have been no further updates about the film since March 2023. Nor have there been any updates on Majors' “early talks" to play Dennis Rodman in Lionsgate's 48 Hours in Vegas.
Can Majors Clear His Name?
Majors' attorney, Priya Chaudhry, issued a statement following the verdict in which she proclaimed his innocence, saying, “Mr. Majors still has faith in the process and looks forward to fully clearing his name." It is not clear how Majors could do this, but stranger things have happened in Hollywood.
- Domestic Violence (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- 'He Said, She Said,' Starring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- In the Courtroom: Who Does What? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
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