As Jonathan Majors prepares for a May 8 court appearance on domestic violence charges, his PR problems are about to get bigger.
Sources familiar with the matter tell Variety that multiple alleged abuse victims of Majors have come forward following his March arrest and are cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The prospect of more women waiting in the wings would mark a dramatic turn in the case and comes on the heels of Majors’ publicists and management firm cutting ties with the embattled actor earlier this week.
The D.A. declined to comment.
“Jonathan Majors is innocent and has not abused anyone. We have provided irrefutable evidence to the District Attorney that the charges are false. We are confident that he will be fully exonerated,” said Majors’ attorney Priya Chaudhry in a statement.
The “Creed III” star was arrested on March 25 in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan on charges of strangulation, assault and harassment. At the time, an NYPD spokesperson said in a statement that a 30-year-old woman told police she had been assaulted by Majors, 33, and that she “sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition.”
But Chaudhry mounted an immediate and aggressive response, insisting that the actor “is probably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows” and suggested the woman was having “an emotional crisis.” A source familiar with the chronology of events says the attorney released the statement while he was still behind bars.
Chaudhry’s husband, Andrew Bourke, is serving as Majors’ crisis publicist and doubled down on the narrative that Majors was the victim when he released a series of text messages on March 30 that were intended to be exonerating.
In the text exchange, which has not been independently verified, the woman wrote to Majors, “I told them it was my fault for trying to grab your phone” and stressed that she told police “this was not an attack.”
The woman allegedly wrote, “Please let me know you’re okay when you get this. They assured me that you won’t be charged. 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 allegedly 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  call was to do with me collapsing and passing out and your worry as my partner due to our communication prior.”
But for many who were in business with Majors, the text messages had the opposite effect and raised more questions than they answered, namely why the woman had lost consciousness.
“It read like a bad Lifetime movie. They basically look like the text messages of a textbook abused woman,” says one person who is working with Majors on an upcoming project.
In recent months, Majors had become one of Hollywood’s most promising stars, with a series of high-profile and lucrative roles on the horizon. Now, all eyes are on his future with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he is poised to play the titular Kang in “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.”
Majors is still attached to star in that film, which is slated to be released on May 2, 2025, and he is poised for a $20 million payday including back-end compensation. He also was signed to star in “Avengers: Secret Wars,” which is slated to debut in 2026. Disney is monitoring the fast-moving situation and has time to move deliberately.
The mega-budget tentpole Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” is scheduled to begin production in the spring of next year. Disney is already deep in business with Majors, given that its speciality label Searchlight acquired the actor’s critically lauded drama “Magazine Dreams,” in which he plays a troubled body builder, at the Sundance Film Festival and was prepared to mount a robust best actor awards campaign later this year when it releases the film on Dec. 8.
Majors already shot the second season of the Disney+ series “Loki,” which is expected to launch on the streaming platform in mid-2023.
Disney has the added wrinkle in that the alleged victim in the Manhattan incident also worked on this year’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” a film in which Majors was third-billed as Kang the Conqueror.
A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.
Separately, Majors is stepping down from the board of the Gotham Film and Media Institute and his work with the Sidney Poitier Initiative, which was created to support emerging filmmakers. On Wednesday afternoon, executive director Jeffrey Sharp sent a note to the Gotham board alerting them of the move.
The industry was jolted by news that Majors’ publicists, the Lede Company and Management 360, had dropped their star client well before his first court appearance next month. As of now, WME is still representing Majors.
In 2018, the agency created a so-called “client advisory committee,” which makes a recommendation on whether or not to drop a client accused of impropriety. The committee of some 20 staffers — split evenly along gender lines and from a cross-section of divisions — evaluates a client’s viability amid accusations and considers such factors as if the client has been charged criminally or is facing a civil lawsuit.
WME has previously dropped such clients as Brett Ratner, Bryan Singer and Armie Hammer. The committee has not met yet regarding Majors based on the limited information that is available.
Still, in the wake of the actor’s March 26 arraignment on a complaint involving misdemeanour charges for assault and aggravated harassment, additional red flags began to emerge.
Broadway actor Tim Nicolai, who appeared opposite Rachel Weisz in the Public Theater production of “Plenty,” tweeted that day, “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. 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.”
When Variety reached out to Nicolai, he responded: “I stand by what I wrote. And I support his victims I know of in however they choose to move forward.” (Nicolai says no one from Majors’ camp reached out to him in the aftermath of his tweets.)
A judge ordered Majors released on his own recognizance on March 25 with a limited order of protection. Over the ensuing weeks, the actor, a Yale School of Drama alum whose recent credits include “Devotion,”“Da Five Bloods” and an Emmy-nominated role in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” has been dropped from a number of jobs including Protagonist Pictures’ “The Man in My Basement.”
MLB’s Texas Rangers have cut Majors from their 2023 season ad campaign that was scheduled to launch on Friday. And fashion house Valentino and Majors have also “mutually agreed” that the actor will no longer attend this year’s Met Gala.
In addition to his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the actor also is poised to play NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman in the Lionsgate film “48 Hours in Vegas.” With that project, the studio is watching developments closely before making a decision about whether or not to proceed with Majors.
Other projects that hang in the balance include Spike Lee’s “Da Understudy” for Amazon. A source at the studio says Majors is still attached to star and produce alongside Will Smith, but the project hasn’t moved forward since it was announced in early March.
“I think the truth is everyone is waiting to see what Marvel will do,” says an industry insider familiar with the situation. “It doesn’t mean everyone will do the same thing, but that’s what people are looking to.”
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