Washington – The arrest of actor Jonathan Majors has upended the Army’s recently launched advertising campaign aimed at reviving faltering enlistment numbers for the service.
Majors, who authorities said was arrested Saturday in New York on charges of strangulation, assault and harassment, was the narrator of two ads at the center of a broader media campaign launched at the start of the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament.
Army leaders hoped the popularity of the “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” star would help them reach a youth audience.
The Army’s Office of Enterprise Marketing said in a statement Sunday that the Army was aware of Majors’ arrest and was “deeply concerned by these allegations.” She added that while Majors is “innocent until proven guilty, prudence dictates that we withdraw our advertising until the investigation into these allegations is complete.”
New York City police said the actor was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman. “The victim told the police that she was assaulted,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.
Majors’ lawyer, Priya Choudhury, said in a statement Sunday that there is evidence exonerating Majors and that the actor was “the victim of an altercation with a woman he knew.”
The Army ads, titled “Overcoming Obstacles” and “Propelling Tomorrow,” are part of a plan to revive the Army’s motto “Be All You Can Be.” They shed light on the history of the military and some of the many professions that recruits can pursue.
The slogan “Be All You Can Be” dominated his recruiting ads for two decades beginning in 1981. A roughly two-minute preview video, made available before the campaign began in early March, showed soldiers jumping out of planes, working on helicopters Obstacle courses, scuba diving and mountaineering. “We bring out the best in the people we serve, because America calls for nothing less,” a voiceover said.
In the Army’s worst recruiting year in modern history, the service fell 25% short of its goal of recruiting 60,000 recruits in 2022. The new ads have been a key component of the Army’s campaign to find creative new ways to attract recruits and ensure the service has the troops it needs to help Defending the nation.
Army Minister Christine Wermut said the Army has set a tough target for this year: It aims to bring in 65,000 recruits, which is 20,000 more than in 2022.