Bernard Garrett Jr., the co-producer on the film “The Banker” and the son of one of the subjects portrayed in the film, has denied accusations that he sexually molested his half sisters Cynthia and Sheila Garrett.
Last week, Apple cancelled the premiere and the theatrical release of its film “The Banker” after the two sisters accused Garrett Jr. of sexually molesting them over the course of several years in the early 1970s when he was 15 and they were children. Garrett Jr. in a statement to Deadline now denied the accusations, saying that his sisters blame him for the break-up of their father and mother.
Further, Garrett Jr. says that their father, Garrett Sr. (portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the film), twice refused to allow Cynthia Garrett the rights to make a film about their father and instead entrusted his life rights to his son.
“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 Monday. “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.”
Garrett Jr. says he then took his name off the film as a co-producer as to avoid tarnishing his father’s legacy.
“The Banker” was meant to premiere at the AFI Film Festival last week but was cancelled a day before it was meant to screen. Apple has not officially commented on the accusations but issued this statement in light of the film’s cancellation. Apple did not immediately respond to a new request for comment.
“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.”
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.
The drama starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. 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 that made that dream difficult. Nicholas Hoult co-stars in the film as the white man the duo hired to be their stand-in for business deals with white bankers.
George Nolfi directs the drama written by Niceole Levy, Nolfi, David Lewis Smith and Stan Younger from a story by David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger and Brad Caleb Kane. It was meant to open in theaters on Dec. 6, but its release and 2020 launch date on Apple TV+ have been delayed.
Read Garrett Jr.’s full statement below via Deadline:
“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. What did happen is that I told my father when I discovered that their mother Linda was cheating on him, and they have always blamed me for the break-up that followed. What did happen is that Cynthia asked my father – twice – to give her the right to make a movie of his life story, and twice he turned her down, and instead decided to entrust those rights to me and a friend of mine. 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. For myself, the best I could do was remove my name from the film and step away so as not to tarnish my father’s Legacy, as honoring him and what he stood for was all I ever wanted to do.”