Apple resets The Banker for theaters after reviewing abuse allegations
Following abuse allegations that prompted Apple TV+ to delay the theatrical release of The Banker, the film, starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, has been re-scheduled for theaters this March.
“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,” a spokesperson for Apple TV+ said in a statement to EW.
“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 statement continues. “The Banker, starring Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nia Long, and Nicholas Hoult, will be released theatrically on March 6, 2020 and available on Apple TV+ on March 20, 2020.”
The production stars Mackie as Bernard Garrett, who, with Joe Morris (Jackson), set out to support African-Americans in the 1960s by training a white man to pose as the head of their real estate and banking empire in order to support black people in the country.
In November, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett came forward with allegations that their half-brother and Garrett’s son, Bernard Garrett Jr., sexually abused them for years as children. Garrett Jr. denied the allegations. Apple unexpectedly canceled the film’s premiere at the AFI Fest in response, while the producers scrubbed Garrett Jr.’s name from the credits. The Banker‘s theatrical release was ultimately delayed by Apple altogether, citing a need to “look into these matters and determine the best next steps.”
“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 statement from Apple TV+ notes.
Writer-director George Nolfi and members of his cast and crew released a joint statement on the matter in December.
“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,” it read. “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.”