ENTERTAINMENT

Actor Jonathan Majors found guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend in car in New York

Dec 18, 2023, 1:15 PM | Updated: 4:47 pm

Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court for his domestic assault trial, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Ne...

Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court for his domestic assault trial, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in New York. Majors was charged last spring for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend during an argument. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — Jonathan Majors was convicted Monday of assaulting his former girlfriend after a trial that he hoped would vindicate him and restore his status as an emerging Hollywood star. It did just the opposite: Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Co. dropped him hours after the verdict.

A Manhattan jury found Majors, 34, guilty of one misdemeanor assault charge and one harassment violation stemming from his March confrontation with then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari. She said he attacked her in a car and left her in “excruciating” pain; his lawyers said Jabbari was the aggressor.

Majors, who was acquitted of a different assault charge and of aggravated harassment, looked slightly downward and showed no immediate reaction as the verdict was read. He declined to comment as he left the courthouse.

Marvel and Disney immediately dropped the “Creed III” star from all upcoming projects following the conviction, said a person close to the studio spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Before his arrest, Majors had been on track to become a central figure throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing the antagonist role of Kang. Majors had already appeared in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and the first two seasons of “Loki.” He was to star in “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” dated for release in May 2026.

Majors, whose credits include “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Devotion” and “Da 5 Bloods,” had been one of the fastest-rising stars in Hollywood. The Yale School of Drama graduate also starred as a troubled amateur bodybuilder in “Magazine Dreams,” which made an acclaimed debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was set to open in theaters this month. Ahead of Majors’ trial, Disney-owned distributor Searchlight Pictures removed “Magazine Dreams” from its release calendar.

Jonathan Majors assault case will move forward to trial

Majors’ sentencing was set for Feb. 6. He faces the possibility of up to a year in jail for the assault conviction, though probation or other non-jail sentences also are possible.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that the trial “illustrated a cycle of psychological and emotional abuse, and escalating patterns of coercion.”

The dispute between Majors and Jabbari began in the backseat of a chauffeured car and spilled into the streets of Manhattan.

Jabbari, a 30-year-old British dancer, accused Majors of hitting her in the head with his open hand, twisting her arm behind her back and squeezing her middle finger until it fractured.

Majors’ lawyers alleged that she flew into a jealous rage after reading a text message — from another woman — on his phone. They said Jabbari had spread a “fantasy” to take down the actor, who was only trying to regain his phone and get away safely.

But as Majors sought vindication from the jury, the trial also brought forth new evidence about his troubled relationship with Jabbari, whom he met on the set of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” two years ago.

Prosecutors shared text messages that showed the actor begging Jabbari not to seek hospital treatment for an earlier head injury. One message warned “it could lead to an investigation even if you do lie and they suspect something.”

They also played audio of Majors declaring himself a “great man,” then questioning whether Jabbari could meet the high standards set by the spouses of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Majors’ attorneys countered that Jabbari had surreptitiously recorded her boyfriend as part of a plot to “destroy” his career.

Over four days of tearful testimony, Jabbari said Majors was excessively controlling and prone to fits of explosive rage that left her afraid “physically quite a lot.” She broke down on the witness stand as a jury watched security footage of him pushing her back into the car after the backseat confrontation. Prosecutors described it the video as showing Majors “manhandling” her and shoving her into the vehicle “as if she was a doll.”

Majors arrived in the courtroom each morning carrying a gold-leaf Bible, accompanied by family members and his current girlfriend, actress Meagan Good. Expressionless for much of the testimony, he wiped away tears as his attorney, Priya Chaudhry, urged jurors to “end this nightmare for Jonathan Majors.”

Majors did not take the stand. But Chaudhry said her client was the victim of “white lies, big lies, and pretty little lies” invented by Jabbari to exact revenge on an unfaithful partner.

The attorney cited security footage, taken immediately after the shove, that showed Majors sprinting away from his girlfriend as she chased him through the night. Jabbari then followed a group of strangers she’d met on the street to a dance club, where she ordered drinks for the group and did not appear to be favoring her injured hand.

“She was revenge-partying and charging Champagne to the man she was angry with and treating these strangers to fancy Champagne she bought with Jonathan’s credit card,” Chaudhry alleged.

The next morning, after finding Jabbari unconscious in the closet of their Manhattan penthouse, Majors called police. He was arrested at the scene, while Jabbari was transported to a hospital to receive treatment for the injuries to her ear and hand.

“He called 911 out of concern for her, and his fear of what happens when a Black man in America came true,” Chaudhry said, accusing police and prosecutors of failing to take seriously Majors’ allegations that he was bloodied and scratched during the dispute.

In her closing arguments, prosecutor Kelli Galaway said Majors was following a well-worn playbook used by abusers to cast their victims as attackers.

“This is not a revenge plot to ruin the defendant’s life or his career,” Galaway said. “You were asked why you are here? Because domestic violence is serious.”

___

This story has been corrected to reflect that the maximum one year jail penalty is for the assault conviction, not the harassment conviction.

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Actor Jonathan Majors found guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend in car in New York