Apple's Reasoning for Pulling 'The Banker' from its Premier this week and Cancelling its Theatrical Release Revealed
On Wednesday Apple abruptly cancelled their AFI festival premiere of ‘The Banker’ over undisclosed ‘concerns.’ Apple officially statement read in-part: "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."
The theatrical release scheduled for December 6 was also cancelled and is likely to be cancelled for release on Apple TV+. How Apple got blindsided on this matter is still unknown, but the bigger picture as to why it was cancelled has come to light.
Considering that The Banker was only hours before premiering., waving the red flag certainly raised eyebrows. What the heck could have halted the debut of this film at this late stage?
We're now learning from the Hollywood Reporter that there was a series of events leading up to the final decision to pull the film.
The film is based on the real life story of Garrett Jr.’s. father, Bernard Garrett Sr., and Joe Morris (played by Samuel L. Jackson), two black man in Los Angeles who recruited a white man to front their growing real estate business some six decades ago in a pre-Civil Rights Act America.
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.
Garrett Jr., initially billed as a co-producer of The Banker, was supposed to be one of the film's faces, along with stars Jackson and Mackie, during The Banker's press tour, but since Nov. 5, his name has been scrubbed from publicity materials as noted in the photo above from the Daily Mail.
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.
One of the sisters, Cynthia Garrett, has been speaking privately with women’s groups about her abuse claims and named a relative in her 2016 self-published book titled "Prodigal Daughter: A Journey Home to Identity."
Cynthia Garret is now authoring a new book outlining her survival, which is due from Salem/Regnery Books next year. Apple was informed of Cynthia Garrett’s concerns via an attorney who asked that the tech giant to shelve the movie.
Cynthia Garrett, presented on our cover graphic, is formerly an interviewer on MTV and VH1 who has since founded Cynthia Garrett Ministries and has spoken publicly to groups worldwide, sometimes recounting her years of alleged sexual abuse, says she is hoping that Hollywood rallies around her cause in the midst of the #MeToo movement.
She also says that the shift of the timeline in the film is no small matter. “This entire project is poisoned. It’s the fruit of crime, lies and deception,” she writes in an open letter that she says she plans to publish online. The rep for producers counters that the film is based on the Garrett Sr. interviews and other materials to which it obtained legal rights. You could learn more from the Hollywood Reporter article.
After reading the timeline of the events, it's difficult to understand why Apple wasn't made aware of the accusations prior to or slightly after purchasing the film. Obviously Apple being contacted directly by Cynthia Garrett's attorney was a sign that Apple could be drawn into a lawsuit once made aware of the accusations.
It's also why Apple stated this week that they purchased the film (the distribution rights) as a way to further distance themselves from the matter brought to their attention.
Whether Apple will deal with this matter privately or be pushed into filing a lawsuit against the owner of the film so as to safeguard the reputation of Apple TV+ from this controversy is unknown at this time.