Marvel drops actor Jonathan Majors after domestic violence trial verdict

Majors was convicted on two misdemeanors.

Disney has dropped Jonathan Majors from future productions as the Marvel villain Kang, the studio said on Monday evening.

The studio's decision came just hours after the actor was found guilty of one count of third-degree assault and one count of second-degree harassment, but acquitted of two other counts of assault and aggravated harassment in a split verdict. Both counts he was convicted on were misdemeanors.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News and Marvel.

Majors, 34, had been charged with assault and aggravated harassment, all misdemeanors, stemming from a March altercation with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, in New York City.

Jonathan Majors, left, enters a courtroom at the Manhattan criminal courts in New York, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023. The actor is accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend as the two struggled over a phone in the back seat of a chauffeured car.
Seth Wenig/AP

The mixed verdict signals the jury believed Majors recklessly assaulted his ex-girlfriend, but did not intentionally do so.

The mixed verdict also suggests the jury did not believe Majors intentionally committed aggravated harassment inside the SUV, but did believe he harassed her outside the vehicle by picking her off the ground and throwing her back inside.

Majors did not appear to react as the verdict was read. He stood, with his lawyers, facing the jury as the forewoman announced the verdict on each of the four counts.

The actor is scheduled to be sentenced for the two guilty counts on Feb. 6. He faces up to a year in prison on the two misdemeanor counts, though that sentence is unlikely for a first-time offender.

The judge also renewed an order of protection that prevents Majors from any contact with Jabbari.

Jonathan Majors stands in court during a hearing in his domestic violence case, June 20, 2023, in New York.
Steven Hirsch/AP, FILE

"At the Manhattan D.A.’s Office, we are committed to centering survivors in all of our work," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a 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. Today, a jury determined that the pattern of abuse and coercion culminated with Mr. Majors assaulting and harassing his girlfriend. We thank the jury for its service and the survivor for bravely telling her story despite having to relive her trauma on the stand."

Following the verdict, Priya Chaudhry, a lawyer for Majors, said they were disappointed by the jury’s decision.

"It is clear that the jury did not believe Grace Jabbari’s story of what happened in the SUV because they found that Mr. Majors did not intentionally cause any injuries to her. We are grateful for that," her statement read.

"We are disappointed, however, that despite not believing Ms. Jabbari, the jury nevertheless found that Mr. Majors was somehow reckless while she was attacking him," the statement continued.

She added that "Mr. Majors still has faith in the process and looks forward to fully clearing his name."

Majors, who has played the role of Kang in several Marvel films and TV shows, was accused of assaulting Jabbari in the backseat of a for-hire Cadillac Escalade after she says she grabbed his phone when a message from another woman popped up.

Prosecutors claimed Majors inflicted a "manipulative pattern of psychological abuse" and physical abuse on Jabbari that culminated in the incident in the SUV that left her with a cut behind her ear and a broken finger.

Prosecutor Michael Perez said during opening statements that Majors "grabbed and squeezed her hand, her right middle finger specifically" and then "struck a blow that swiped across the right side of her head." Then, after they got out of the vehicle, he picked Jabbari up and shoved her back into the car, Perez said.

The defense claimed that Jabbari was the aggressor and physically attacked Majors so blatantly that the driver of their for-hire SUV called her "psycho girl" -- and that he was left bloodied and ran to a hotel to hide from her.

"This is a case about the end of a relationship, not about a crime," defense attorney Priya Chaudhry said in opening statements, telling the six-person jury that Jabbari made false accusations after Majors "canceled her Mrs. Majors plan."

"Even though the world may see him as a movie star, he is a normal person," Chaudhry said of Majors. "His career was unstoppable until he ended the relationship with Ms. Jabbari and she made these false allegations."

Actor Jonathan Majors, center, arrives at court for his domestic abuse trial, Dec. 5, 2023, in New York.
Bebeto Matthews/AP

Jabbari took the stand over four days during the trial, testifying for the state as the first witness.

She told the court that Majors first became angry with her in December 2021 and detailed, at times through tears, several instances of him being mean or aggressive.

According to previously undisclosed text messages read during the trial, Majors implored Jabbari not to seek medical attention in September 2022 for a head injury. The nature of the injury was not disclosed and the jury was instructed to consider the messages as background in the trial.

While detailing the night of the incident, Jabbari said her head was resting on Majors' shoulder in the SUV as he was scrolling on his phone when a message popped up saying, "I wish I was kissing you."

She said she was shocked and grabbed his phone and turned away from him. At that point, she said she "felt a heavy thud on top of me. What I knew to be the weight of him on top of me and him trying to pry the phone out of my fingers."

She described Majors pulling her right hand behind her back while holding the phone in her left hand, saying, "It just felt like he was twisting my arm and my hand and trying to make me feel pain."

The defense played surveillance footage from that night that appeared to show Majors lift Jabbari and thrust her into the vehicle in an attempt to undermine her testimony. Jabbari said she thought she was facing out at the time, though the footage appears to show her facing the other way.

Jurors also heard the 911 call Majors made the following morning that precipitated the NYPD's domestic violence investigation and his arrest on March 25. He reported that his "ex-partner" was unconscious in his apartment and he had just returned from staying at a hotel and didn't know what happened. Prosecutors also showed photos taken by police of Jabbari's injuries, including a cut to her ear and an apparently bruised and swollen finger.

Other witnesses included the driver of the for-hire SUV, who told the court through an Urdu language interpreter that it sounded like Jabbari hit Majors in the vehicle, according to Courthouse News Service. The driver also testified he saw Majors push her back into the SUV while the two argued outside the vehicle, the publication reported.

Majors declined to testify in his own defense. The defense rested its case after calling three witnesses on Wednesday.

Actor Jonathan Majors, center, arrives at court for a trial on his domestic violence case, Dec. 4, 2023, in New York.
Yuki Iwamura/AP

Attorneys agreed to consolidate the multiple assault counts against Majors into a single count. He also faced aggravated harassment charges after prosecutors said he "used both his hands to pick Ms. Jabbari up and shove her back into the SUV."

Majors pleaded not guilty to the charges. He attended the trial accompanied by his girlfriend, the actress Meagan Good, and was often seen carrying a Bible.

Jabbari herself was arrested in October in New York on multiple charges, though the Manhattan district attorney's office subsequently said it decided not to prosecute her because the case "lacks prosecutorial merit."

Her attorney, Brittany Henderson, released a statement Monday evening following the Majors verdict, contending that "justice was finally served today."

"Grace did not choose to be in this situation. The choice that she made was to stand up for what was right following Mr. Majors’s arrest in March of this year. Grace has been publicly attacked as a result of her courage to testify to the truth, but her unwavering resolve to see this case through to the end was borne out of her desire to give other survivors similar courage when justice requires," Henderson said in her statement.

"Grace’s strength and unrelenting perseverance allowed the jury system to work the way that it should. Today shows that nobody, no matter how powerful they may seem, is above the law. Grace hopes that this verdict deters future similar conduct and empowers other survivors to take the witness stand to ensure accountability," Henderson added.

Jonathan Majors attends the "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" Sydney premiere at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter on Feb. 02, 2023 in Sydney.
Hanna Lassen/WireImage via Getty Images, FILE

Marvel first announced Majors in the role of Kang in December 2020. He was set to play Kang in multiple movies and TV shows, including "Avengers: Kang Dynasty" which is slated for a 2026 release date.

The character's complex history in the comics allowed for Majors to play multiple versions of Kang in each film and TV show.

Majors made his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing "He Who Remains," a Kang variant, in the season one finale of the Disney+ series "Loki," which premiered in July 2021.

Majors played another version of the character, Kang the Conqueror, in 2023's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," and another variant, Victor Timely, in the second season of "Loki," which premiered a few months later.