Apple Pulls The Banker From AFI Fest After Sexual Abuse Allegations

Apple has already had a tough month with a not-so-great kick-off to its Apple TV+ service and now its first theatrical release looks like it’s hit unexpectedly rocky waters. The company pulled its upcoming release “The Banker” from a closing night world premiere slot at AFI Fest in Los Angeles. Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” already in release, will screen instead.

READ MORE: Apple goes prestige as “The Banker” set to play AFI Fest

In a statement, Apple remarked, “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. 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 true-life drama stars Anthony Mackie as Bernard Garrett Sr and Samuel L. Jackson as Joe Morris, two African-American men who hired a white man, played by Nicholas Hoult, to be the public face of their growing business empire in 1963. The film was directed by George Nolfi from a script by Niceole Levy and the filmmaker best known for “The Adjustment Bureau.”  It also stars Nia Long and was acquired by Apple+ in July.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the daughters of Garrett Sr. have accused his son, Bernard Garrett Jr., of sexual abuse.  Garrett Jr. is 15 years older than his sisters and it turns out that one of them, Cynthia Garret, has been speaking about the abuse privately to women’s groups since 2016.  The sisters also are upset with the film’s historical innacuracy that finds Garret Sr. still married to his first wife, Garret Jr’s mother, at the time of the events in the film.  Garrett, Jr. was was a consultant on the pictureand participated in aspects of its publicity campaign including post-screening Q&A’s.  When the allegations were made on Nov. 5 Apple removed his name from publicity materials and he no longer was participating in the film’s publicity campaign.

Apple has not announced whether or not “The Banker” will still open in theaters on Dec. 6.

[Updated Nov. 21]