Following Jonathan Majors’ arrest for alleged assault on Saturday, others have come forward on Twitter with secondhand accusations of abusive behavior.
Majors’ arrest was described as a domestic dispute that took place in New York, with police responding to a 911 call. An unnamed woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries to the head and neck, and Majors was arrested on charges of strangulation, assault, and harassment.
In the aftermath, many commentators highlighted the alarming context of strangulation in domestic violence cases: A form of violence where the perpetrators are usually men and the victims are usually women, and where life-threatening injuries can appear minor to the naked eye. As Guardian columnist Moira Donegan explained after the death of Gabby Petito by strangulation, “Once a woman has been strangled by her partner, the likelihood that he will strangle her again rises tenfold. The likelihood that he will murder her rises nearly eightfold.”
Jonathan Majors’ representatives are denying all allegations of violence or domestic abuse, with his criminal defense attorney releasing a statement describing Majors as “completely innocent and… probably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows.” This statement framed the situation as Majors being present while the woman had an “emotional crisis.” His lawyer also claims to have “two written statements from the woman recanting these allegations.”
Given Majors’ fame as a celebrated actor and rising star in the MCU, his arrest has already attracted a lot of public attention, including discourse about potential double standards for Black and white celebrities accused of violent crimes—the most obvious comparison being Ezra Miller, whose Flash movie is still being released this year. (So far Disney and Marvel haven’t released statements responding to Majors’ arrest, although his U.S. Army ad campaign has been paused.)
Amid all this, the alleged victim in this case remains anonymous, and her side of the story hasn’t been heard. However, there’s growing speculation that Majors may have a history of abusive behavior, sparked by three unverified, anecdotal tweets from industry insiders. None of these people appear to have worked directly with Majors, but they posted these accusations on their public, named Twitter accounts.
One now-privatized tweet from producer/director/editor Gene Aversa, namechecks “unsettling and alarming” reports that he supposedly heard from people working on sets with Majors, claiming “abusive behavior towards PAs and other below the line crew members.”
Meanwhile, director A.B. Allen—who has also locked their account—confirmed that an earlier subtweet about a “vicious, cruel, abusive human being” was apparently referring to Majors. In a follow-up tweet, Allen said they didn’t want to share more specific information because it might “expose people who have been hurt and deserve to not become part of some larger media inquiry.”
And New York theater actor/director Tim Nicolai wrote in a now-deleted tweet that Majors’ allegedly abusive behavior was known to many in the Yale and New York theater communities, labeling him a “sociopath and abuser.” In another tweet, Nicolai wrote, “A bunch of us are close with people (and sometimes multiple people) he has directly harmed. I don’t know if they will speak on it. It is completely their decision.”
It’s not surprising that these posts were soon deleted or locked from public view. Not only does Majors have access to expensive legal protection and PR teams, but these Twitter users faced backlash from Majors’ fans and defenders online. This backlash, and people’s personal choice to believe or disbelieve these tweets, are a familiar reaction to “whisper network” allegations around alleged celebrity abuse.
No one here is describing their own personal experiences with Majors, or naming a specific alleged victim or event. They’re sharing vague warnings they supposedly heard from other people—something that many people automatically discredit as ugly rumor-mongering. At the same time, it’s easy to understand why possible victims might not come forward with accusations about a beloved celebrity, considering the grueling nature of a public legal battle and the vitriolic harassment aimed at high-profile accusers like Amber Heard.
At present, we still know very little about the event that took place on Saturday night. With no statement from the alleged victim, the only verified information comes from the NYPD and Jonathan Majors’ representatives, who claim very straightforwardly that Majors is innocent, and was actually the victim of this incident.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Jonathan Majors’ representatives and Disney/Marvel Studios for comment via email.