Bernard Garrett Sr. is the subject of the fascinating new film from Apple TV+, The Banker. It seems like everyone is getting into the originally produced content game these days, and new contenders in the "streaming wars" seem to greenlight some questionable projects at first. But The Banker appears to be a legit project, with top talent attached like Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie.
Bernard Garrett Sr.'s son's alleged actions caused The Banker to be canceled.
However, recent allegations against Bernard Garrett Jr. forced Apple to cancel the film's premiere. Originally slated to debut as the AFI Fest's closing movie, the Cupertino Based Tech Giant pulled the film, which caused event organizers to scatter last minute in an attempt to find a replacement, which ended up being Netflix's A Marriage Story.
Definitely not the outcome that Apple wanted, especially considering that they're trying to launch their own streaming service. Ultimately, it was a smart move that Apple made considering the controversy.
Apple explained its decision in an official statement: "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."
In the movie's defense, the concerns aren't really about the film itself, but rather with Bernard Garrett Jr., who was a consultant on the movie and worked to help promote it. BG Jr. isn't featured in The Banker - the narrative primarily focuses on his father and how he became one of the first African-American bankers who became successful in the predominantly white-dominated field in the 1960s. Anthony Mackie stars as BG Sr., and Samuel L. Jackson as his business partner, Joe Morris.
Bernard and Joe created a company and put a white figurehead as the face of the organization in order to do business with other financial institutions - without the repercussions of racism inhibiting them. Due to their sharp acumen and ability to grow wealth, they're immensely successful and ultimately help pave the way for other African Americans who want to work in a variety of different financial fields.
What are the allegations against Bernard Garrett Jr.?
He was originally given co-producer credit on the film and was set to join both Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie to promote it, however, his name was struck from all PR materials and his media appearances were canceled.
It all stemmed from accusations made by BG Jr.'s sisters, who are 15 years younger than him, saying that while he lived in their home, he sexually molested them. The abuse lasted for a few years, and the women claim the movie's timeline had been altered to leave them and their mother out of the story, and kept Bernard Garrett Sr. and his first wife married for scenes where in "real life" the two were divorced.
Cynthia Garrett has been speaking with various women's support and abuse groups and self-published a book in 2016 that names Bernard as her attacker. Salem/Regnery books is also releasing a new book about her struggles to reconcile with her abuse that's due in 2020.
Apple wasn't aware of the allegations against BG Jr. until an attorney expressed that it's probably a good idea they put the flick on ice.
Apple hasn't responded to the accusations and only said that they're "determining" their next step as to what they're going to do with the production.
It's important to note that Apple bought the movie after it was already completed and had only become aware of the allegations about a week ago — their response to the drama was swift.
Cynthia, who used to be an interviewer for MTV and VH1, went on to be the founder of Cynthia Garrett Ministries.
She says that the fact the film played with her family's timeline is a big deal: "This entire project is poisoned. It’s the fruit of crime, lies and deception." Representation for the film's producers say that the story is based on hours of interviews from Bernard Garrett Sr. along with other materials that they purchased the rights too.
There's no word as to whether or not the movie will make its originally slated Dec. 6 release date.