After three days of deliberation, a New York City jury made up of three women and three men have delivered their verdict on the domestic trial of 34-year-old actor Jonathan Majors, who was arrested on March 25 on assault charges filed by his then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari.
Majors has been found guilty on one charge of harassment in the second degree and misdemeanor assault in the third degree, and he was found NOT guilty on two other counts of aggravated harassment and another assault charge.
After being arrested, Majors entered a “not guilty” plea and claimed his innocence, but after a trial that has been delayed for many months, justice has decided that Majors needs to be penalized for his violent behavior. Shortly after the charges, Majors lost his representation and studios began scrambling to figure out what to do about his outstanding projects. For some, this will be seen as an actor who allowed violence to get the better for him but for others, this could seen as a tragic story of a Black actor clearly on the rise, whom for whatever reason, let his temper get the better of him.
Majors began the year with a show-stopping performance in the Sundance film, Magazine Dreams, written and directed by Elijah Bynum, that many thought would take him to the Oscars. Searchlight picked up distribution for the film, and eventually dated it for a Dec. 9 release. As the charges against Majors and other information of the incident on March 25 came from out of the trial, they removed the movie from the release schedule, giving the date to Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Poor Things. (Magazine Dreams is rumored to have been shelved entirely.)
On February 17, the release of Marvel Studios‘ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania continued Majors’ journey as the MCU’s next big villain, Kang, who had been introduced in Season 1 of Loki in 2022 to much acclaim. In fact, Kang was being set-up to be the next Thanos, the role played by Josh Brolin through the first phase of the MCU. Marvel even had titled and dated, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, as the next big event movie ala Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton was attached to direct The Kang Dynasty, but recently, he left the project.
Almost two weeks after the release of Quantumania, Majors starred opposite Michael B. Jordan in Creed III, the third installment of the Rocky spin-off, this one directed by Jordan. Majors received much critical acclaim and notices for his performance as fighter Damien Anderson, as well.
Both movies were still in theaters on March 25 when Majors was arrested, and it began to put a lot of the actors’ future projects into question, despite Marvel having already filmed Majors’ Kang parts for Season 2 of Loki.
Sentencing for Majors will be set on February 6, and he is likely to be going to jail for a year or possibly more. District Attorney Alvin Bragg released the statement, “The evidence presented throughout this trial illustrated a cycle of psychological and emotional abuse, and escalating patterns of coercion far too common across the many intimate partner violence cases we see each and every day.”
UPDATE: Majors has just been fired by Disney and Marvel Studios and will no longer be a part of the MCU, so the character of Kang will likely be recast similar to how Terrence Howard‘s James “Rhodey” Rhodes was recast after Iron Man, replaced by Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2 and other MCU appearances of the character.
Setting aside my journalistic hat for a moment here, I know that a lot of the cult of public opinion will immediately throw Majors under the bus and declare his career to be dead, despite him clearly being a hugely-talented actor, and also quite respected until his arrest.
I feel like people need to be reminded that actor Robert Downey Jr. fought drug addiction throughout his ’20s, and he ended up in rehab and jail after multiple arrests. Downey was 36 years old the last time he was in jail, and we can see that after being released, he made an effort to set things right for himself, eventually was cast by Marvel Studios as Tony Stark aka Iron Man, and he’s well on his way to a possible Oscar for his role in Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer.
Hopefully, Majors will learn from this incident, do his jail time without further incidents, and do whatever it takes to put himself right, so that he can come out and return to acting, since it would be a true shame to lose such a talented black actor to an industry that has not been known to give black actors the same rights and privileges of white actors. Majors was probably on a trajectory to become another Denzel Washington or Will Smith, and with the right support, he could get through this.