Apple has concluded its review of sexual misconduct against a former co-producer “The Banker” and will release the film in theaters and on Apple TV+ this March, according to a statement from an Apple spokesperson.
“We created Apple TV Plus 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 spokesperson told TheWrap. “We wanted to take the time to understand the situation at hand — and after reviewing the information available to us, including documentation of the filmmakers’ research, we’ve decided to make this important and enlightening film available to viewers.”
The film’s release at the end of 2019 was delayed after it was reported that the son of one of the film’s subjects, Bernard Garrett Jr., who was also a co-producer on the film, was accused of sexual misconduct by his half-sisters. Garrett Jr. has denied the accusations, but the spokesperson confirmed that Garrett Jr.’s credit on the film has been removed and he will not profit from the film’s release.
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“Bernard Garrett Jr. will not profit from the release of the film in any form, and his credit as a co-producer has been removed,” the spokesperson added.
Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), also defended the film in a statement: “‘The Banker’ is a powerful movie uncovering a largely forgotten, but important piece of U.S. history. Well-crafted from beginning to the end, and with standout performances from Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult, ‘The Banker’ definitely deserves to be seen.”
“The Banker” is a drama directed by George Nolfi and starring Mackie and Jackson. It’s based on the true story of two real estate investors and businessmen, Bernard Garrett (Mackie) and Joe Morris (Jackson), who managed to buy banks and homes in all-white neighborhoods and loan it back to black people looking to find their own American dream in a still segregated world. Hoult co-stars in the film as the white man the duo hired to be their stand-in for business deals with white bankers.
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“The Banker” will be released theatrically on March 6, 2020 and available on Apple TV Plus on March 20, 2020.
THR reported last winter that Garrett Jr. was publicly accused of sexual assault by one of his half-sisters, Cynthia Garrett. Cynthia and Sheila Garrett then spoke to THR and said that the film misrepresented the timeline of real-life events, with their mother being left out of the story entirely.
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“This entire project is poisoned. It’s the fruit of crime, lies and deception,” Cynthia Garrett told THR.
The entire cast and crew of “The Banker” then issued a statement standing behind the film’s content, its accuracy and its “positive message of empowerment.”
“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,” the film’s team said jointly. “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.”