Apple Delays 'The Banker' Release After Sexual Abuse Claims Against Subject's Son

Apple
'The Banker'

The delay in the theatrical and streaming rollout comes after the tech giant canceled the film's AFI premiere earlier this week following allegations from the half-sisters of co-producer Bernard Garrett Jr., who said he had sexually molested them over the course of a few years.

Just two weeks before The Banker was scheduled to open in theaters, Apple is delaying the release of the film following news of sexual assault allegations against one of the pic's co-producers.

The Banker was scheduled to debut Dec. 6 in limited theaters before premiering on Apple's newly launched Apple TV+ streaming service in January. As a result of the theatrical delay, the streaming release has also been pushed back. The delay comes as Apple tries to figure out its next steps with the film after canceling its gala premiere at the AFI Festival in Hollywood this week following The Hollywood Reporter's Nov. 20 report on misconduct allegations against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of one of the lead characters in the movie, played by Anthony Mackie. 

The Banker 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, 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 movie.

Garrett Jr., initially billed as a co-producer of The Banker, was supposed to be one of the pics'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.

The film, directed by George Nolfi, was acquired by Apple in July and announced as part of its first round of content to be released on the new streaming platform. Apple had also been poising The Banker for awards recognition and releasing it in theaters before the end of the year so that it would qualify for awards contention. 

In a statement earlier this week, Apple said, "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."