The full cast and crew of “The Banker” are standing behind their film to defend its content and “positive message of empowerment” following accusations of sexual misconduct against one of the film’s co-producers, Bernard Garrett Jr.
“The Banker” team said that while it has no way of knowing if the accusations against Garrett Jr. are true, it defends the film’s accuracy as based on recorded interviews from the film’s subject, Bernard Garrett Sr., as conducted in 1995, as well as corroborated by additional congressional transcripts, court rulings and media articles from the era.
A statement released Monday was signed by director George Nolfi, stars Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long and the writers and below-the-line producers and crew members.
“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.”
The statement continues: “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.”
Apple was meant to release “The Banker” in theaters on Dec. 6 followed by a release on Apple TV+ in 2020, but both releases have been put on hold following accusations that Garrett Jr., the son of the film’s subject and who was originally listed as a co-producer on the project, sexually molested his half sisters, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett.
Garrett Jr. denied those accusations last week, saying that his half sisters blame him for the breakup of their mother and father. Garrett Jr. says he then took his name off the film as a co-producer as to avoid tarnishing his father’s legacy.
“My half-sisters Cynthia and Sheila have accused me of molesting them in the early 1970s, when I was a teenager of about 15. This simply never happened. Period,” Garrett Jr. said in a statement to Deadline. “These charges against me are deeply humiliating and frustrating because I can never prove how false they are. I can only hope that people will keep an open mind, and though I forgive my sisters and bear them no ill-will, I do hope that people will educate themselves on who Cynthia is – and why she might make these accusations right now – before they take her words as truth.”
Cynthia Garrett first tweeted her accusation of her brother, saying that the film “LIES TO HIDE THE PRODUCER WHO SEXUALLY MOLESTED MY SISTER AND I FOR YEARS THEN STOLE MY MOMS LIFE STORY WITH OUR DAD.” According to THR, the Garrett sisters then informed Apple of the accusations. Cynthia and Sheila likewise spoke with THR in saying that the film misrepresented the timeline of real-life events and left their mother out of the story almost entirely.
Apple has not officially commented on the accusations but issued a statement following the cancellation of the film’s premiere at the AFI Film Festival.
“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,” an Apple representative told TheWrap 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. In light of this, we are no longer premiering ‘The Banker’ at AFI Fest.”
The drama starring Mackie and Jackson is 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.
See the full text of the statement below:
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.
Signed by: George Nolfi – Director, Producer, Writer
Anthony Mackie – Actor, Producer Samuel L. Jackson – Actor, Executive Producer Nicholas Hoult – Actor Nia Long – Actor Scott Daniel Johnson – Actor Jessie T. Usher – Actor Colm Meaney – Actor Paul Ben-Victor – Actor James DuMont – Actor GregAlan Williams – Actor Bill Kelly – Actor Michael Harney – Actor David Maldonado – Actor Gralen Bryant Banks – Actor Rhoda Griffis – Actor
Joel Viertel – Producer, Editor Brad Feinstein – Producer David Lewis Smith – Producer, Writer
Will Greenfield – Executive Producer, Unit Production Manager Carlo Hart – Co-Producer
Stan Younger – Writer Niceole Levy – Writer Brad Caleb Kane – Writer
Charlotte Bruus Christensen – Director of Photography John Collins – Production Designer Aieisha Li – Costume Designer H. Scott Salinas – Composer Kim Coleman – Casting Director Tonya Cryer – Hair Department Head LaToya Henderson – Make-Up Department Head Stephen Moore – 1st Assistant Director Andi Crumbley – Art Director Lynne Mitchell – Set Decorator Mike Scherschel – Prop Master Kayla Gueho – Location Manager David Martin – Key Assistant Location Manager Harrison Huffman – Production Supervisor Huxley Rodriguez – Production Coordinator Serena Simpson – Sound Mixer Chris Birdsong – Key Grip Jon Lewis – Gaffer Karlyn Exantus – Script Supervisor Meagan Lewis – Local Casting Director Atlanta Mary Jasionowski – Production Accountant Chuck Jean – Post-Production Supervisor Gordon Williams – Music Supervisor Michael Hatzer – Supervising Digital Colorist David Christopher Smith – Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer Marti Humphrey – Supervising Sound Editor, Re-Recording Mixer Christian Wood – Visual Effects Supervisor Chris LeDoux – Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Cindy Rago – Visual Effects Producer