Apple abruptly canceled the world premiere of their new film The Banker at the American Film Institute (AFI) Fest on Wednesday after the film’s producer was accused of sexual assault by his sisters.
The Banker, starring Samuel L Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Hoult, and Nia Long tells the true story of two black entrepreneurs who hired a working-class white man to front their business empire and overcome racism in 1960’s America.
On Wednesday evening, the film’s leading producer Bernard Garrett Jr., who is also the son of the film’s subject, was hit by allegations of sexual assault by his two half-sisters.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter:
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. She is also 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 shelve the movie.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Garrett also took to Twitter to try and expose her brother, accusing him of sexual assault and stealing the family’s life story.
“LIES TO HIDE THE PRODUCER WHO SEXUALLY MOLESTED MY SISTER AND I FOR YEARS THEN STOLE MY MOMS LIFE STORY WITH OUR DAD. WOW!!!!! #TIMESUP,” she wrote. “THIS FAMILY WILL NOT REMAIN SILENT!”
THE BANKER Trailer (2019) Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie Movie https://t.co/44EVCwKy1n via @YouTube. LIES TO HIDE THE PRODUCER WHO SEXUALLY MOLESTED MY SISTER AND I FOR YEARS THEN STOLE MY MOMS LIFE STORY WITH OUR DAD. WOW!!!!! #TIMESUP. THIS FAMILY WILL NOT REMAIN SILENT!
— Cynthia Garrett (@SpiritualChick) November 16, 2019
In a statement on Wednesday evening, Apple refused to comment on why the premiere was called off, simply noting unspecified “concerns.”
“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,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Their decision was backed by the AFI, who said in a statement that they “support Apple’s decision to postpone the premiere.” The Hollywood Reporter says “Garrett Jr.’s credit has disappeared from publicity materials, further appearances have been canceled.”
The controversy will come as a major embarrassment to Apple, which was hoping to release the film as their first feature length project. The film is currently scheduled to hit theatres on December 6th, before heading exclusively to the company’s new Apple TV service early next year.