Rising Hollywood star Jonathan Majors—accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend during an argument in a cab—is being crucified in the court of public opinion before the facts come out in an actual court of law.
It’s a scenario we’ve seen play out many times before: someone is (rightly or wrongly) targeted by salacious allegations amplified by the media before they are proven to be true or false. This rush to judgement is a hallmark of cancel culture, which seeks to shut down an offender before even the most basic facts are determined.
Cancel culture can destroy careers, and Majors has a lot to lose. Like all Americans, the actor deserves the opportunity for due process and a presumption of innocence unless he is proven guilty in legal proceedings.
His domestic violence case is scheduled for trial on August 3 in Manhattan, and his attorney has reportedly provided prosecutors with video evidence indicating Majors is the actual victim. Supposedly, the materials that will be used to defend the Hollywood star include texts from the girlfriend indicating she may be to blame for the conflict.
In the meantime, the media hits keep coming. The latest pile-on includes allegations of “abuse” and “toxicity” in previous relationships and during his time at Yale dating back a decade.
The problem with canceling someone via online platforms is that it takes real justice out of the equation and replaces it with the mob rule of public opinion. Already, the U.S. Army pulled TV commercials starring Majors, saying it was “deeply concerned” by the allegations. Disney last month postponed Majors’ upcoming Marvel film “Avengers: Kang Dynasty” from May 2025 to May 2026. All this before Majors has been convicted of anything.
There have already been claims that the accusations made him against him do not accurately characterize what happened, so it is important not to jump to conclusions. The public and companies who work with Jonathan Majors should avoid a rush to judgment in the high-profile domestic violence case, and wait for the facts to play out.
Taking Control of the Narrative is Essential
Expect Major’s team to try and sway public opinion by highlighting his persona as a wrongly-accused rising star, especially if they have the proof they say they do. It is important for Majors’ team to deliver his side of the story to prevent other versions of the truth from taking hold.
A PR Strategy is a Must
If Majors is acquitted of all charges, his PR team should be ready to speak with the media about how this incident has marred his acting career. If he is convicted, then Majors’ PR team must have a crisis response plan ready to roll out.
Reputational Damage is Inevitable
The fact that some pertinent details of this case have already started to percolate in the press shows that his team views its job as not to just defend him in court, but also to defend him in the court of public opinion and work to repair his image and reputation.
Majors’ reputation will be tarnished no matter what the outcome of this case. If he is innocent of the accusations, the actor who previously enjoyed a relatively good reputation will now have to attempt to resuscitate it and redeem himself.
Evan Nierman is Founder and CEO of the crisis communications firm Red Banyan and co-author of The Cancel Culture Curse: From Rage to Redemption in a World Gone Mad.