Jonathan Majors makes court appearance as attorney slams assault case as a 'witch hunt' that highlights 'racial bias'
Did more women come forward? Will the D.A. proceed with the case? Here's what we know about the situation.
Jonathan Majors appeared via Zoom in court on Tuesday as the Creed III star faces charges of assault and harassment. The 33-year-old actor — considered Hollywood's next big thing following the HBO hit Lovecraft Country, a string of lauded indie films and being tapped to play Kang, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest existential threat, in several titles leading up to 2025's Avengers: The Kang Dynasty — finds his career hanging in the balance after domestic violence allegations surfaced two months ago.
Tuesday's conference was brief and routine. According to Variety, the judge discussed a motion filed by the actor's defense team and prosecutors have until May 23 to respond. The defense will then have until May 31 to respond back. Majors will next appear in court on June 13 — and he must be there in person or a warrant can be issued for his arrest.
"I obviously don't want that to happen, so just stay in touch with your attorney," the judge reportedly told the rising star.
Majors, through his representatives, has maintained his innocence amid the troubling headlines. The actor's attorney, Priya Chaudhry, issued the following statement on Tuesday after court:
We have provided the District Attorney (D.A.) with irrefutable evidence that the woman is lying, including video proof showing nothing happened, especially not where she claimed. We did this with the explicit promise from the D.A. that they would not 'fix' their case and change it as we proved the woman is lying.
Yet this false case continues, the woman's claimed location shifts and her story morphs. This is a witch hunt against Jonathan Majors, driven by baseless claims. Instead of dismissing the allegations in the face of the woman's clear lies, the D.A. has adjusted the charges to match the woman's new lies. To be clear, there are no new charges against Mr. Majors.
Now, we have obtained even more video evidence of his innocence, but we are hesitant to share it, for fear the D.A. will tip the woman off to change her story again.
The criminal justice system is saturated with explicit and implicit bias. When Mr. Majors showed a white police officer the injuries the woman caused him, the white officer got in Mr. Majors's face and taunted him, saying that if the officer were to slap Mr. Majors, the officer wouldn't break his finger. None of the white officers present investigated the assault of Mr. Majors. Worse, the District Attorney has not indicated any intention to pursue charges against the woman, or even investigate the truth.
This glaring double standard between the treatment of Jonathan Majors, a Black man weighing 200 lbs., and his accuser, highlights the racial bias that permeates the criminal justice system.
Fans and studio executives are anxiously watching how everything unfolds. Did more women come forward? Will the D.A. proceed with the case? Here's what we know about the situation.
Police respond to a 911 call involving a dispute between Majors and a 30-year-old woman, later revealed to be his girlfriend at the time.
"The victim informed police she was assaulted," a spokesperson for the NYPD said in a statement. "Officers placed the 33-year-old male into custody without incident. The victim sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition."
A representative for Majors denies wrongdoing via email: "We look forward to clearing his name and clearing this up."
A judge grants the alleged victim a limited order of protection and orders that Majors be released on his own recognizance.
Majors is arraigned on a complaint involving misdemeanor charges for assault and aggravated harassment, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office confirms. In the complaint, the accuser claims the actor struck her "about the face with an open hand, causing substantial pain and a laceration behind her ear." She also accuses him of putting "his hand on her neck, causing bruising and substantial pain."
Majors hires criminal defense attorney Priya Chaudhry, who represented Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah in her federal trial. Chaudhry issues a more defiant statement, telling the media Majors "is provably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows" and claimed the woman was having "an emotional crisis." The attorney adds that her team has evidence clearing Majors, including "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."
The U.S. Army suspends its TV ad campaign featuring the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania villain, saying they are "deeply concerned by the allegations surrounding his arrest."
Majors's lawyer releases text messages between the actor and alleged victim, but the correspondence only raises more questions.
In a new statement, Chaudhry tells Yahoo that Majors was the one who called 911 "out of concern for the woman's mental health. ... The police arrived with the paramedics, as is standard procedure, and arrested Mr. Majors due to an NYPD protocol requiring arrest in certain circumstances. On that same day, only seven and nine hours later, the woman sent text messages to Mr. Majors admitting that she was the one who used physical force against him. She also disavowed any allegations that he had done anything to her and confirmed that Mr. Majors called 911 because of her mental condition. These are those messages, redacting the woman’s name for her privacy."
In the messages, which Yahoo can't authenticate, the woman says, "Please let me know you're OK 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."
The alleged victim says in another text she told police "it was my fault for trying to grab your phone. I only just got out of hospital. I love you."
A few hours later, the woman writes to Majors: "They just called again to check on me and I reiterated how this was not an attack and they do not have my blessing on any charges being placed. I read the paper they gave me about strangulation and I said point blank this did not occur and should be removed immediately. The judge is definitely going to be told this. 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 on 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. Out of care. She promised all will be relayed."
Majors is dropped by his publicist and manger, a shocking move given his slate of projects over the next several years and the fact that it's still weeks away from his first court date. The actor was already generating awards buzz for his role in Magazine Dreams, a critic favorite emerging from this year's Sundance Film Festival. He shot the second season of Loki for Disney+ and was due to appear in at least three upcoming Marvel films through 2025. As for his future in the MCU, there have not been discussions about recasting his role, with sources saying the Disney-owned studio is taking a wait-and-see approach.
Deadline reports Majors has been dropped from multiple projects, including The Man in My Basement in which he was set to star in and executive produce. He was also cut from a Texas Rangers MLB ad campaign and is no longer in consideration to star in a Otis Redding biopic.
Variety reports more alleged victims have come forward and are cooperating with the Manhattan D.A.'s office. Majors's lawyer disputes that in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
"This story is baseless and without any foundation," Chaudhry declares. "Jonathan Majors is innocent and has not abused anyone. Mr. Majors is currently considering his legal options."
Chaudhry adds to Yahoo: "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."
Yahoo Entertainment obtains documents containing the evidence submitted by Majors's defense team.
In video footage, the alleged victim is shown clubbing after the purported attack where she appears uninjured using her right hand and the finger Majors is accused of breaking. "She danced her way to the DJ booth, passed a note to the DJ, danced wildly (even hanging off the DJ booth with her right hand), drank her champagne, and smoked a vape — clearly having a great time," Chaudhry writes in a letter to the court, noting they have multiple witnesses who will testify he never hit the woman.
"As witnessed by the driver, who saw and heard everything, just before 1 a.m., [the woman] assaulted Mr. Majors in a car while she was attempting to steal his phone. The driver will testify that Mr. Majors never struck [her] in any way at any time... The driver will testify that he unlocked the door to help Mr. Majors escape," Chaudhry writes. "[The woman] then attacked Mr. Majors on the street as he tried to run away from her. In doing so, and in trying to prevent him from escaping, she ripped his coat buttons and tore his coat pocket; but he got away."
Majors supposedly checked into a hotel while the woman went out. After 3 a.m., she went back to his apartment and security video footage from the building seemingly shows her unharmed at the time. The actor returned the next morning as he was supposedly worried about the woman's suicidal threats.
Upon arrival, Majors found vomit on his bed and the alleged victim "unconscious" in his walk-in closet. In body-cam footage submitted to the court, the woman apparently told paramedics that she took "a few" sleeping pills. Majors's attorneys say she likely fell in the closet and sustained injuries when she passed out.
Majors's alleged victim is granted a temporary order of protection with the consent of defense counsel.
This story was originally published on Monday, May 8 at 8:41 p.m. ET and was updated to include details from Majors's court appearance.