One of the more prominent rising mainstream actors is Jonathan Majors. Majors was promoted to become the next big villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the next 10 years, in addition to being in the third installment of the “Creed” franchise that stars Michael B. Jordan, a spin-off of the infamous “Rocky” franchise. Media outlets reported Majors would be in more upcoming films like a “Dennis Rodman” biopic with many endorsements.
Then, Majors got hit with a domestic criminal charge involving his girlfriend at the time. This incident attaches his name to something legally controversial, an image multi-billion dollar corporations don’t want to represent, a bad look for Majors’ acting career.
A common sentiment among observers is corporations severing their relationships with Majors after-the-fact is motivated by racial bias.
The racism argument is a “cop out”, an oversimplification of the issue. Some have compared it to the Ezra Miller and Robert Downey Jr. controversies. Others in entertainment have gotten into trouble and have had corporations drop their deals with clients, such as Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, or Robert Downey Jr. The latter’s career nearly deteriorated due to his actions with drugs.
What happened to Jonathan Majors?
According to an article from Insider, one night in New York, a driver from a black-owned car service company was driving Majors and his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, to and from a Brooklyn bar.
On the way back, the couple got into a verbal fight where Jabbari would eventually rip Majors’ jacket in the car as he got out. They would part ways, and Majors would go to his Upper East Side hotel room.
Jabbari would go to a club and later receive a breakup text from Majors at 3 a.m. Phone records read that Majors turned off his phone after the breakup text. Then, Jabbari went to his home address, not knowing that he’s at his hotel after a myriad of texts sent to Majors that included talk of suicide.
Majors would finally read her texts and rush to his home address only to find her bleeding from the ear with a broken finger in a drunken state of mind. The resident handyman helped him get into the bedroom she was found in around 11 a.m.
Majors calls 911 and is subsequently accused of assaulting Jabbari due to her injuries despite his denial of those claims and her uttering, “I don’t know,” 19 times during questioning by police in response to questions related to Majors hitting her.
“Why would the police arrest my client with no concrete evidence of assault?” Majors’ lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, says in paraphrasing.
“Racism,” Majors’ lawyer alleges.
Majors PR team and talent manager dropped him in April. In addition, Majors lost a U.S. Army ad campaign, and Marvel films and TV shows were delayed due to the accusations.
What Happened to Ezra Miller?
Ezra Miller, the actor who plays The Flash in the then DC Extended Universe and other films including two installments of the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise and “Trainwreck”, has indulged himself in numerous acts of deviance that involve him choking a woman, trespassing and more.
A video surfaced online where Miller appeared to choke a woman at a bar in Reykjavik, Iceland.
A seven-second video shows a man saying, “Oh, you wanna fight? That’s what you wanna do?” to a young woman, who appears to be jokingly preparing herself for a fight and is smiling.
Miller then grabs the girl by the throat and throws her to the ground. At this point, the person recording says, “Woah, bro. Bro,” and stops shooting, with the footage ending abruptly. Miller was subsequently escorted off the premises.
In addition, police charged Miller over an alleged burglary of a Stamford, Vt., home which he apologized for in August 2022. The police report stated he stole bottles of liquor from the house while the homeowners weren’t present. Surveillance videos and statements led to the probable cause which resulted in legal charges.
The “Trainwreck” actor yelled obscenities at people when they were singing at a karaoke bar in March 2022. The actor was fined $500.
Miller also threw a chair at a 26-year-old woman, hitting her in the forehead, resulting in an approximate half-inch cut. The incident took place in Pahoa, Hawaii, in April 2022 during a get-together at a private residence.
My only issue with these acts of deviance is corporations failing to cut ties with Miller.
Is it comparable to the Robert Downey Jr. controversy?
Robert Downey Jr. was a drug addict. It made an impact on his acting career to the point where he was getting no roles in the film industry.
The police arrested him numerous times for possessing cocaine, heroin and more. An article from SpyScape states how Downey Jr. attended several rehabilitation programs and even broke into a neighbor’s house and fell asleep once in a child’s bedroom.
Downey Jr. was eventually sentenced to three years at a correctional facility and released after one year.
After getting out of prison, he earned a Golden Globe for appearing in the television series Ally McBeal, but he was still in a very precarious position: “It was my lowest point in terms of addictions,” he once explained.
He would actually get fired from the show as he was found unconscious by the police under the influence of multiple drugs. The incident tarnished his image, costing him several high-profile gigs like “America’s Sweethearts.”
Downey Jr.’s acting career would improve because of Mel Gibson, who sponsored him with an insurance bond for “The Singing Detective” film.
Gibson saved Downey Jr.’s acting career as Downey would eventually be cast as Marvel’s “Iron Man” and be one of the few faces of that franchise, also starring in “Sherlock Holmes” and “Tropic Thunder”, among others.
A mix of talent and his relationships with people in the industry is why Robert Downey Jr.’s acting career wasn’t tarnished forever by Hollywood.
Again, there’s no news of his PR team or talent manager dropping him as they did with Jonathan Majors. Unlike Majors, there are no accusations of controversy with Downey; everything is evident. The same sentiment applies to Ezra Miller.
Is it comparable to the Ye, formally known as Kanye West, controversy?
Staying in entertainment, Ye, born Kanye West, has expressed anti-Semitic and racially insensitive sentiments on social media and other public platforms to the dismay of the public around the world.
Ye wore a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at a fashion show in Paris, which he tried to sell. The reason why he couldn’t sell it is because of two black radio hosts, named Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, acquired the trademarked slogan so nobody could use it to attack the black and Hispanic communities.
Ye also tweeted: “death con 3 on Jewish people” on Oct. 9, 2022. He misspells “defcon” and defends his stance by saying black people are Jews too, so he is not anti-Semitic. This action caused companies like Adidas, Gap and Footlocker to cut ties with Ye.
Just like Majors, Ye’s talent agency and lawyers have dropped him, according to an article from NME.
How about Charlie Sheen?
Another actor that has had a controversial past is Charlie Sheen. Sheen played Charlie Harper on “Two and a Half Men” and would make controversial comments about the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre.
Sheen was fired after CBS ordered him to go to rehab in 2011. He was then roasted on Comedy Central that same year and received a role on the sit-com “Anger Management” for two years.
Sheen has also been accused of domestic violence by past romantic partners, in addition to substance abuse of drugs and alcohol, similar to Ezra Miller.
Is there racial bias in the Jonathan Majors controversy?
Let’s break it down.
What’s racial bias? An article from Springer Link states that racial bias is sometimes an unreasoned judgment made solely on an individual’s race that may be unique. The Collins English Dictionary and JRSA support that definition too.
When one searches “Jonathan Majors” on Google, there are a variety of news stories about entities cutting ties with the actor, compared to “Ezra Miller” where there is minimal to no media coverage.
Is it fair that entities like his talent agency and PR severed their ties with Jonathan Majors based on accusations? The same has happened to Ye, who made evidential remarks about races of people like the Jews and blacks, so that situation was fair.
A reason why PR teams fire their clients is the act of making false claims. Majors’ lawyers have stated the reason for his arrest was due to racism.
That statement has not been debunked or verified by the court because this case is still pending, with a trial date set for Aug. 3, before a judge. There have been conflicting reports on the whole situation that support and contradict that idea with the pieces of his past partners attributing his actions to an emotionally and physically abusive past.
Involving race probably makes the situation even more controversial than it is, and it is too much for his PR team to handle, especially with the heightened racial tension in America.
Another idea is the conflicting reports on what happened to Jonathan Majors. A report from TMZ from an article from ScreenRant depicts him guilty in the situation, in addition to another article from USA Today.
Those reports depict him as the culprit compared to the article from Insider depicting him in the opposite manner. However, what if those claims are valid?
As this case ensues, we’ll have to wait and see what happens to Jonathan Majors and his acting career.
Edited by: James Sutton