Could Jonathan Majors' arrest affect the MCU? Here's what we know so far

The "Creed III" star was charged after an alleged domestic dispute, and now more accusers have come forward

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published March 27, 2023 6:38PM (EDT)

Jonathan Majors attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Cindy Ord/VF23/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
Jonathan Majors attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Cindy Ord/VF23/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Jonathan Majors, the star of "Creed III" and "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania," is currently embroiled in legal tension following an alleged domestic violence incident. 

On March 25, Majors was arrested in New York after officers responded to a 911 call from a 30-year-old woman, who alleged that Majors had assaulted her at an apartment in the city's Chelsea neighborhood. Officers placed Majors into custody without incident, per the NYPD.

The 33-year-old actor's legal team came to his defense, asserting that Majors is "completely innocent" in the aforementioned dispute.

Despite their claims, one group dropped their ads that featured him, and several movie projects and brand deals have also cut ties with the actor. The conversation about what Hollywood insiders might have known about the actor, and whether or not they may have turned a blind eye until now, has also been raised.

As for Majors, the actor is set to appear in court on May 8 in New York City. Here's a closer look at his arrest, work lost, new abuse allegations and what they all mean for his career:

Arrest and legal response

In a criminal complaint filed in the incident, Majors' girlfriend claimed that Majors struck "her about the face with an open hand, causing substantial pain and a laceration behind her ear." She also claimed Majors "grabbed her hand and put his hands on her neck, causing swelling, bruising and substantial pain to her neck and hand," per ABC News.

Police said the woman, whose name was not released, was taken to a local hospital and treated. The Manhattan district attorney's office told USA Today that Majors was arraigned on multiple charges, including assault and aggravated harassment.

In response to the arrest, Majors' attorneys denied the allegations and said there's evidence to prove his innocence:

"Jonathan Majors is completely innocent . . . We are quickly gathering and presenting evidence to the District Attorney with the expectation that all charges will be dropped imminently," Priya Chaudhry, Majors' attorney, said in a statement to ABC News. The specific evidence includes video footage from the vehicle where the alleged assault took place, witness testimony from the driver and others who both saw and heard the alleged incident, "and most importantly, two written statements from the woman recanting these allegations.

"The NYPD is required to make an arrest in these situations, and this is the only reason Mr. Majors was arrested. We expect these charges to be dropped soon," Chaudhry added.

On March 26, Majors appeared in court for an arraignment and was released without bail. He is set to appear in court again on May 8.

Texts about alleged assault and additional abuse allegations

Shortly after Majors' arrest, his crisis publicist, Andrew Bourke – who is married to Chaudry – released a series of text messages exchanged between Majors and the woman following the alleged assault, according to TMZ.

"I told them it was my fault for trying to grab your phone," wrote the woman, adding that the police "assured me that you won't get charged. They said they had to arrest you as protocol when they saw the injuries on me and they knew we had a fight."

The texts continued, "Please let me know you're okay when you get this . . .They said they had to arrest you as protocol when they saw the injuries on me and they knew we had a fight. I'm so angry that they did. And I'm sorry you're in this position. Will make sure nothing happens about this. . . .  I love you."

A few hours later, the woman wrote, "I know you have the best team and there's nothing to worry about I just want you to know that I'm doing all I can my end. I also said to tell the judge to know that the origin of the [911] call was to do with me collapsing and passing out and your worry as my partner due to our communication prior."

Although the texts were meant to exonerate Majors, they've actually raised questions and doubts about his actions.

"It read like a bad Lifetime movie. They basically look like the text messages of a textbook abused woman," one person who is working with Majors on an upcoming project told Variety.

In the same article, Variety reports that as of April 19, multiple alleged abuse victims of Majors have come forward following his arrest and are cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney's office. 

Chaudhry denied the actor's new abuse allegations and, once again, maintained his innocence:

"Jonathan Majors is innocent and has not abused anyone," she said in an email to CNN. "We have provided irrefutable evidence to the district attorney that the charges are false. We are confident that he will be fully exonerated."

Ad campaign yanked

The U.S. Army paused its advertising campaign with Majors in response to the actor's arrest. Majors was the narrator of two ads titled, "Overcoming Obstacles" and "Pushing Tomorrow," which are part of the Army's "Be All You Can Be" campaign aimed at reviving the group's recruiting numbers.

Advertisements featuring Majors kicked off at the start of the NCAA's March Madness college basketball tournament. They were still running during the NCAA broadcasts on Saturday evening, March 25 before they were officially pulled the next day.

"The U.S. Army is aware of the arrest of Jonathan Majors and we are deeply concerned by the allegations surrounding his arrest," Army Enterprise Marketing Office public affairs chief Laura DeFrancisco said in a statement to Variety. "We recently released two ads in which Mr. Majors appears. While Mr. Majors is innocent until proven guilty, prudence dictates that we pull our ads until the investigation into these allegations is complete."

Majors dropped from movie projects, brand deals and representation

According to a Tuesday Deadline report, Majors will no longer star in or executive produce an upcoming film adaptation of Walter Mosley's 2004 novel "The Man in My Basement." He is also no longer under consideration to star in a biopic about late musician Otis Redding.

Majors will also no longer appear in an ad campaign for Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers after the club reached out to the actor, who grew up in Dallas. Additionally, the actor will no longer attend the 2023 Met Gala on May 1.

Majors is also stepping down from the board of the Gotham Film and Media Institute and his work with the Sidney Poitier Initiative. His publicists, the Lede Company and Management 360, and management firm have also cut ties with him.

Allegations of Majors' past abusive behavior

In February, director A.B. Allen tweeted about a "new [actor] on the scene" being a "vicious, cruel, abusive human being." Allen recently confirmed that the actor in question was Majors after a Twitter user shared a screenshot of the old tweet alongside the caption, "Now we know who this tweet was about."

Similarly, Society Theatre co-founder Tim Nicolai called Majors a "sociopath and abuser" in a now-deleted tweet:

"I'm just gonna say this about Jonathan Majors and be done with it: folks at Yale and the broader NYC community have known about him for years. He's a sociopath and abuser and that is how virtually everyone speaks about him," Nicolai wrote, per FandomWire. "It's a shame it took this long for him to be reported. I'm already seeing a bunch of 'why didn't you do anything?!' Folks, people have tried. Ultimately needed a victim to come forward. It's both simultaneously awful to know he is still doing this and also a relief that he may never get to again."

As for why Majors' abusive history wasn't disclosed earlier, Allen said he can't share any additional information, as it risks exposing people "who have been hurt."

"The specifics of what *I* know unfortunately would still expose people who have been hurt and deserve to not become part of some larger media inquiry if they don't want to," Allen said.

Nicolai added, "A bunch of us are close with people (and sometimes multiple people) he has directly harmed. I don't know if they will speak on it. It is completely their decision."

What's next for the MCU and DCU

Majors had been set to star as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel's upcoming film "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty." Kang, who is known as one of Marvel's most notable and powerful villains, was first introduced in Season 1 of "Loki" and then teased as the next major threat to the Avengers in the post-credit scene of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

"Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" had been scheduled to begin filming in Spring 2024 with a May 2, 2025 release date. Majors had already filmed his scenes for "Loki's" second season.

The uncertain future of the Marvel timeline bears a resemblance to what's happening over in the DC Universe. Many have drawn parallels between Majors and Ezra Miller, whose role as the Flash in the eponymous DC Studios film has been under scrutiny due to a string of troubling behavior. In 2022, Miller was arrested twice in Hawaii, once for disorderly conduct and harassment and once for second-degree assault. They have also been accused of abuse, grooming minors and leading a cult.

In light of Majors' arrest, fans wonder if Marvel would recast Majors (which would require significant reshoots or delays) or keep him onboard and fix his public image:

"This is another reason I think we need to keep an eye on how Warner Bros. tries to rehabilitate Ezra Miller for 'The Flash' press tour," tweeted writer and critic Kayleigh Donaldson. "If they can get enough of the media to capitulate to their demands (and they will), what's to stop anyone else from doing it with violent abusers?"

Similarly, HuffPost's senior culture reporter, Candice Frederick tweeted, "Related: I'm curious to see how Hollywood moves with Ezra versus how it will move with Jonathan Majors."

In addition to his upcoming role as Kang, Majors stars in "Magazine Dreams" as an aspiring bodybuilder. Searchlight snapped up the title out of Sundance and had set a December theatrical release. He also plays controversial basketball star Dennis Rodman in "48 Hours in Vegas."

By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon. She writes about food news and trends and their intersection with culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Assault Creed Iii Domestic Violence Explainer Harassment Jonathan Majors Marvel