Jonathan Majors And How To Self-Sabotage A Perfect Career In Under A Year

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Jonathan Majors leaves the courthouse Dec. 15 following closing arguments in his domestic violence trial in Manhattan. He was convicted of assault and harassment.
Jonathan Majors leaves the courthouse Dec. 15 following closing arguments in his domestic violence trial in Manhattan. He was convicted of assault and harassment.

Jonathan Majors leaves the courthouse Dec. 15 following closing arguments in his domestic violence trial in Manhattan. He was convicted of assault and harassment.

It was all good for Jonathan Majors just 11 months ago. 

At the beginning of spring, he was in the midst of a career crossover: Having starred in smaller but beloved projects, including the films “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and “The Harder They Fall” and TV series “Lovecraft Country” ― all of which netted him awards and nominations ― Majors had two box-office champs in the theater with (the thoroughly enjoyable) “Creed III” and (the perfectly hideous) “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” 

Amid those films, there was Majors’ Black woman-ambrosia bromance with his “Creed” director and co-star, Michael B. Jordan, as well as that racy Ebony Valentine’s Day photo shoot that left the ladies salivating and the idiots wondering if “they” were promoting a Black man effeminacy agenda. Majors’ ascendancy was wonderful for Black folks to witness, his future a delight to ponder. 

And then came March 25, 2023, when the wheels fell off. Majorly. 

Majors’ arrest on domestic violence charges reeked of racial politics and divided the masses before they could even bother with the details. After all, we’re talking about a Black man finally making a name for himself in Hollywood only for a white woman ― his then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari ― to be the catalyst for his derailment. The social media takes were thermonuclear. 

Since this thing was always to be adjudicated in the Court of TMZ, Majors should’ve shoved a penny of his Marvel coins to utilize the best crisis control team money can buy. But it was all bush league from the beginning, starting with his lawyer Priya Chaudhury’s decision to release texts between Majors and Jabbari just days after the U.S. Army pulled an ad featuring him. The release was intended to make Jabbari look like a liar but instead depicted Majors as a garden-variety controlling abuser.

Majors was in an admittedly tough spot: Had he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor, we would’ve been done with this when it was still warm outside, but his career would’ve suffered immediately. He decided preserving his reputation was the move and rolled the dice on a trial in open court. 

That got us a crying white lady on the stand, audio of Majors telling said white lady that he needed her to be a great woman like Coretta Scott King and Michelle Obama because starring in a few above-Tubi-quality films made him a “great man” doing “great things for the culture and the world.” 

And, of course, we have the video of Majors attempting to stuff Jabbari in a car only for her to chase him across every closed-circuit camera in New York City like a good episode of “Cheaters.” 

So much for that reputation. 

Realistically, Majors’ reputation was headed to the trash compactor the moment he was arrested: A series of tweets tarnished him, including a subtweet that existed months before his arrest calling him a “vicious, cruel, abusive human being, both professionally and in his personal life.” In June, Rolling Stone published a 3,800-word investigative piece documenting abuse claims against him that go back to his Yale School of Drama days. 

Though his Dec. 18 conviction was the straw that destroyed his career as he knew it ― following the news, Marvel Studios smashed the “abort” button in less time than it takes to finish an episode of “Loki” ― he was let off relatively easily by a jury that hooked him with the least serious two of the four charges. His Feb. 6 sentencing is not expected to result in jail time. 

But, ever willing to test dangerous yet completely unnecessary waters, Majors made the mind-boggling decision to sit down for an interview with ABC Newsweeks before his sentencing. The right people would’ve told him that the best path forward was to take an extended break from the spotlight, chill for a year or so with girlfriend Meagan Good and then give mea culpa-filled interviews. (One conundrum about Majors: He either has no people, he’s not listening to them or they simply all suck.) 

Unsurprisingly, Majors completely shat the bed on this interview six ways from Sunday… even with ABC’s Linsey Davis playing junior league softball with her questions. Among the several gems: When Davis asked him if he agreed with the jury’s assessment that he was physically reckless with Jabbari, he said that he was “reckless with her heart.” 

There was also his ill-advised evocation of Coretta Scott King to describe his girlfriend Good, which caused Majors to trend to the depths of hell on social media before the whole interview even dropped. Even King’s daughter Bernice hopped in the mess, prompting Majors to go on defense and Good to (probably) reassess why she’s dealing with any of this shit. 

And now, before we’ve even gotten used to writing 2024, Jonathan Majors’ name has become a cautionary tale ― a sobering reminder of what happens when your ego (and likely propensity for abuse) gets in the way of an otherwise wonderful thing. All the jokes about his admittedly hideous sartorial affectations would’ve been a cute distraction had last March never happened. Now it’s just piling on; a reminder that he’s now a punchline. 

Any role that racism played in any of this is undercut by an inconvenient truth: Majors messed up from root to stem, and he didn’t have to. His sentencing will be the least of his worries.