The Banker, the first Apple TV+ original movie, will miss its world debut this week. Apple pulled the film after allegations of sexual abuse emerged involving Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of one of the men portrayed in the film and a co-producer of the project.
In the wake of recently surfaced accusations lodged by his half-sisters, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett, Garrett Jr.’s name has been scrubbed from the movie’s publicity materials. And the movie, originally scheduled to premier Thursday night at AFI Fest in Los Angeles, has been nixed. Now it’s not clear when it will be released.
The Banker showcases the shrewd financial moves of two black entrepreneurs who took on racist real estate laws in the Jim Crow era. One of these is Bernard Garrett Sr., the accused man’s father. In the movie, Anthony Mackie plays Garrett Sr. Apple released a trailer for this production a few weeks ago.
The Hollywood Reporter sheds light on the allegations against Garrett Jr.:
Garrett Jr.’s half-sisters, roughly 15 years his junior, have recently made Apple aware of their claim that when he was a young man living in their home, he sexually molested them over the course of a few years. The sisters made the claim in connection with separate allegations that the timeline of the film was tweaked in order to leave the girls and their mother out of the story and instead feature Bernard Garrett Sr.’s first wife, even though he had already divorced her by the time of some of the events depicted in the film.
While Garrett Jr. is not portrayed in the film, he served as a consultant during production and took part in promoting the film.
Apple TV+’s The Banker is on hold
Apple issued a brief statement explaining its decision to scrap The Banker premiere:
“We purchased The Banker earlier this year as we were moved by the film’s entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy. Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps. In light of this, we are no longer premiering The Banker at AFI Fest.”
It’s possible the movie, which also stars Samuel L. Jackson, might miss its theatrical premiere, scheduled for December 6.
Update: We updated this post to include specifics about the allegations made against Bernard Garrett Jr.