Late yesterday, Apple announced something that seemed inevitable – their first major original film release, George Nolfi’s “The Banker,” has been delayed indefinitely and a streaming release on Apple TV+ is also potentially in doubt.
The film was scheduled for a limited theatrical release on December 6th through Bleecker Street, but when its AFI Fest closing-night premiere was abruptly cancelled on Wednesday – it seemed only a matter of time before the regular release was to be pulled as well.
When the premiere was nixed, Apple cited ‘concerns’ about the film and now details of those concerns have come to light. Specifically, the concerns tied to sexual misconduct allegations against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the lead character in the film Bernard Garrett Sr. who is played by Anthony Mackie.
Set in pre-Civil Rights Act America, the film follows two black men in Los Angeles who recruited a white man to front their growing real estate business. Garrett Jr. was a co-producer on the film and was to be part of the film’s press tour helping discuss his father’s work.
Now Garrett Jr.’s half-sisters, roughly 15 years his junior, have made Apple aware of their claim that Garrett Jr. sexually molested them over the course of a few years. There are also separate allegations that the film’s timeline was tweaked to leave the girls and their mother out of the story.
Instead, the film focuses on Bernard Garrett Sr.’s first wife, even though he had already divorced her by the time of many of the events depicted in the film. Cynthia Garrett, the older of the two girls and a veteran in Hollywood who has worked for decades at MTV, VH1 and NBC as a talk show host, tells Indiewire:
“Yes it’s true. They omitted my mom and my siblings and I entirely. Stole our mom and our life story and did so with our abuser. It hurts. Deeply. HOLLYWOOD needs regulations that make filmmakers way more responsible and accountable for taking people’s life stories and with whom they work.”
Bernard Garrett Jr.’s name has reportedly been scrubbed from the credits of the film either way. Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult and Nia Long co-star in the film whose fate will remain in flux for now.