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'The Banker' cast and crew defend Apple TV+ film amid abuse allegations

Apple's film 'the Banker' has been defended by its cast and crew as having a 'positive message of empowerment,' in response to a decision to delay the film's release following allegations of sexual abuse from the daughter of the film's subject.

Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson in

Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson in "The Banker."


The film was originally scheduled to debut in theaters on December 6, along with a premiere at AFI Fest in November that was pulled at the last minute. The cancelled premiere and delayed release plans were instigated following accusations by Cynthia Garrett, daughter of protagonist Bernard Garrett, claiming there was sexual abuse performed by film producer and her half-brother Bernard Garrett Jr. against her.

A statement signed by a number of key cast members and production crew received by Variety attempts to defend the film's creation, and to distance the work from the allegations.

"Though we have no way of knowing what may have transpired between Mr. Garrett's children in the 1970s, including the allegations of abuse we have recently been made aware of, our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered," the statement reads. It goes on to point out it was based on "recorded interviews with Bernard Garrett Sr himself, conducted in 1995, supported by congressional transcripts, court rulings, and other media articles from the era," and not from the recollections of Garrett Sr's children.

Referencing the "remarkable lives of Bernard Garrett Sr and Joe Morris, and their ground-breaking achievements combatting racial inequality in the 1950s and 60s," the statement ends by insisting "We stand by the film, and its positive message of empowerment."



The statement is signed by 54 people, including writers, heads of departments, ad producers. Heading up the list is George Nolfi, the director, writer, and a producer for the film, with key cast members Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, and others also signing the article.

"The Banker" is based on the true story of two African American businessmen who trained a working class white man to become the figurehead of a successful empire in real estate and banking. Mackie plays Garrett Sr. in the film, with Jackson taking the role of Morris.

It is unclear what Apple's plans are for the film's release following the delayed theatrical debut and premiere failure. While it was slated to be made available on Apple TV+ sometime in 2020, it is unknown when exactly that will be, nor how much of an impact the allegations made to delay its streaming availability.

The statement in full reads:
We set out to tell a story we were very passionate about, recounting the remarkable lives of Bernard Garrett Sr and Joe Morris, and their ground-breaking achievements combating racial inequality in the 1950s and 60s. Though we have no way of knowing what may have transpired between Mr. Garrett's children in the 1970s, including the allegations of abuse we have recently been made aware of, our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered. The film itself is not based on the recollections of any of Bernard Garrett Sr's children, but rather, on recorded interviews with Bernard Garrett Sr himself, conducted in 1995, supported by congressional transcripts, court rulings, and other media articles from the era. We stand by the film, and its positive message of empowerment.