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Apple will release The Banker in theaters on March 6 before it hits streaming after temporarily shelving the project to consider sexual misconduct allegations against a co-producer on the film, the tech giant said Thursday.
The Banker, which stars Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, will be released on Apple TV+ on March 20.
The news comes after Apple was forced to delay the release following allegations that co-producer Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the film’s subject, Bernard Garrett (played by Mackie), had molested his two half-sisters 50 years ago when they were young girls. Apple said Thursday that Garrett Jr. would not profit from the film’s release, though insiders say he was already paid money up front.
The Banker tells the story of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, black men who hired a white man to front their real estate business in the 1950s and 1960s. Garrett Jr. was instrumental in pitching the project and was billed as a co-producer, but he was removed from the credits as The Hollywood Reporter was set to reveal the allegations against him in November.
Apple also canceled the film’s AFI Festival premiere in November and indefinitely delayed the release on Apple TV+, a dramatic response to the allegations, given the tech giant was depending on The Banker to kick-start its fledgling movie business.
“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 groundbreaking 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,” the filmmakers, including director George Nolfi and producer-stars Mackie and Jackson, said in a joint statement.
Added Apple: “We created Apple TV + as a home for stories that matter and believe The Banker, inspired by the brave actions of Bernard Garrett Sr. and Joe Morris, two African-American businessmen who brought about positive social change, is one of those stories.”
The two half-sisters, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett, told THR on Thursday that they are against the release of the film, as did the woman who was Garrett Sr.’s wife in the 1960s, when much of the movie takes place. Garrett Sr.’s widow, who helped him write his memoir prior to his death in the late 1990s, also objects to the movie’s release.
“My sister and I are devastated, as we really believed Apple cared about sexual abuse and about children and families,” Cynthia Garrett told THR on Thursday. “Our sexual abuser is still part of this film. … So Apple is only helping him get away with childhood rape and sexual abuse. … He didn’t live the story that The Banker is telling. His sexual abuse victims did. And, clearly, everyone involved sees only money.”
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