Movie fans have been speculating what lies in store for Jonathan Majors’ career after he was arrested on assault charges over the weekend.
Police arrested the Marvel star, 33, in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City after receiving complaints of a domestic disturbance. Majors faced court on Saturday evening on charges of two counts of assault in the third degree, aggravated harassment and attempted assault.
Majors is accused of hitting a 30-year-old woman believed to be his girlfriend, “causing substantial pain and a laceration behind her ear,” according to police. He also allegedly put his hands on her neck “causing bruising and substantial pain.” Representatives for Majors have maintained his innocence.
But many have been left wondering what impact the allegations will have on his meteoric rise in Hollywood and compared him to another actor fronting a superhero franchise—Ezra Miller.
One of the first indications of an impact on Majors’ career, the U.S. Army paused its on-screen advertisement campaign which features the actor, following his arrest. Majors stars in two of the Army’s “Be All You Can Be” as an on-screen narrator. The military pulled those ads and others in the campaign.
“The U.S. Army is aware of the arrest of Jonathan Majors and we are deeply concerned by the allegations surrounding his arrest…while Mr. Majors is innocent until proven guilty, prudence dictates that we pull our ads until the investigation into these allegations is complete,” Army Enterprise Marketing Office public affairs chief Laura DeFrancisco said in a statement.
Majors rose to prominence in the Apple TV+ series, Lovecraft Country but became a household name when he was cast as the newest Marvel villain, Kang the Conqueror, in Loki and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Kang is set to also appear in the major upcoming Marvel films Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026. He also recently starred alongside Michael B. Jordan in the latest installment of the boxing film franchise, Creed 3.
Following news of his arrest, a discussion began on Twitter as to whether Marvel would recast Majors—a likely expensive exercise and logistical nightmare—or keep him on and rehabilitate his image via a well-orchestrated public relations campaign.
Newsweek reached out to Disney for comment.
“I hope the victim in this is being cared for and looked after bc right now Jonathan Majors is the biggest rising star on the planet with the biggest machine behind him and that machine is going to try to chew her right up. I wish her peace and solace despite what’s coming,” tweeted creative consultant @brownandbella.
She was retweeted by writer Kayleigh Donaldson who added: “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. 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?”
And HuffPost’s senior culture reporter, Candice Frederick also wondered how this would play out. “Related: I’m curious to see how Hollywood moves with Ezra versus how it will move with Jonathan Majors,” she tweeted.
The Flash’s Miller has a trail of controversies and arrests behind them including being arrested twice in Hawaii in 2022, once for disorderly conduct and harassment and once for a second-degree assault.
Miller, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, was charged with felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont and even though the pled not guilty, they could face 26 years in prison.
They have also been accused of abuse by women across Europe, including an incident in Iceland in 2020, an investigation into trespassing in Berlin which has since been dropped, and accusations of grooming by the parents of Native American teenager Tokota Iron Eyes. They filed a restraining order against Miller.
A PR expert told Newsweek there was too much invested in Miller and The Flash by Warner Bros. to let it fail. The next The Flash film is due to hit cinemas in June.
“Warner Bros. Discovery will watch and see how the [legal] cases pan out and look to their belief on what social and public sentiment might be,” Juda Engelmayer, the president of HeraldPR told Newsweek last year. “They have too much invested here, not just the cash, but DC Extended Universe [DCEU] storylines and future programs based on the outcome and success of The Flash.”
Engelmayer added that while some stars managed to rehabilitate their embattled reputations, such as Robert Downey Jr. in the 1990s, some such as Lindsay Lohan, Shia LaBeouf and Winona Ryder either had to work for years to get their careers back on track or were never able to.
“Some worked hard to overcome it, some had better luck than others. The key was sincerity in their efforts, the speed at which they were able to gain control over their problems (seek help, serve time, devotion to rehabilitation, etc), and even luck in their abilities to get another chance with key roles,” Engelmayer said.
Majors will appear in court in May in New York City and his lawyer vowed they would contest the allegations against him.
“Jonathan Majors is completely innocent and is provably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows. We are quickly gathering and presenting evidence to the District Attorney with the expectation that all charges will be dropped imminently,” his attorney, Priya Chaudhry said in a statement.
“This evidence includes video footage from the vehicle where this episode took place, witness testimony from the driver and others who both saw and heard the episode, and most importantly, two written statements from the woman recanting these allegations. All the evidence proves that Mr. Majors is entirely innocent and did not assault her whatsoever.
“Unfortunately, this incident came about because this woman was having an emotional crisis, for which she was taken to a hospital yesterday. 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.”