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The Double Standard Being Applied to Jonathan Majors Is Not Going Unnoticed

Jonathan Majors looks at the camera, wearing a black suit and tie.

After his arrest last month for allegedly strangling his partner, Jonathan Majors’ career has quickly unraveled. He’s been dropped by his PR firm and management company, along with multiple endorsements and film projects. Plus, more women have reportedly come forward and are cooperating with the D.A.’s office.

If Majors is guilty, then this is all good news. Abusers shouldn’t be able to build thriving careers off the devotion of their fans while they ruin lives in private. However, there’s a strange disparity emerging in the way Majors is being handled. While he’s been largely condemned before his trial has even started, other actors have continued to enjoy fame and success years after being publicly exposed as abusers.

Take, for instance, Jeremy Renner. Renner has a long history of erratic and inappropriate behavior, including faking heart attacks on the set of The Avengers and calling Black Widow a “slut.” His most egregious action, though, was allegedly threatening to kill himself and his partner over a domestic dispute in 2019. Renner was also accused of child abuse, including allegedly biting his daughter and leaving cocaine within her reach. However, Renner’s career doesn’t seem to have suffered much. In 2021 he starred in the Disney+ series Hawkeye, and he’s currently starring in the series Rennervations.

Or how about Ezra Miller? Despite a years-long record of incidents including assault, burglary, and endangering children, they’re still starring in the upcoming film The Flash. It’s possible that Miller will be recast as the Flash after this movie comes out, but for now, Warner Bros. is still going all in on the film—even after canceling Batgirl for a tax write-off.

Or maybe Johnny Depp? His abuse against Amber Heard is undisputed. However, when Heard went public, writing about her experiences, Depp sued her for defamation, and fans clamored to demonize her.

Online, people are pointing out the obvious pattern.

There’s no word from Marvel Studios yet, but Majors’ future as Kang the Conqueror is looking less and less likely. And again, if he’s guilty, then that’s a good thing—that’s what should happen! But the disparity between Hollywood’s response to Majors and white actors is telling. Why can’t studios bring themselves to deal as harshly with white abusers as they’ve dealt with Majors?

The answer seems clear. Some people have the luxury of behaving twice as badly as others—while facing half the consequences.

(featured image: Cindy Ord/VF23/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at