If you've been anticipating the new Apple movie "The Banker" starring Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Nicholas Hoult, you just might have to wait a little longer! Just a few days ago Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the film's protagonist, who has also been credited as a producer on the film, has been accused of sexually molesting his younger half-sisters in the 1970s.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cynthia and Sheila say the abuse began in the early 1970s without their father’s knowledge, shortly after Garrett Sr. returned home from prison and the family lived in Glendora, California. His son by Eunice Garrett was invited to live in their home.
Garrett Jr.'s half-sisters, roughly 15 years his junior, have recently made Apple aware of their claim that when he was a young man living in their home, he sexually molested them over the course of a few years. The sisters made the claim in connection with separate allegations that the timeline of the film was tweaked in order to leave the girls and their mother out of the story.
Since the Nov. 5 industry event where the media got to first ask questions regarding the movie, Garrett Jr.’s credit has disappeared from publicity materials, further appearances have been canceled, and on Wednesday the film's Thursday night AFI Film Festival premiere was scrapped by Apple.
In a statement, Apple did not address the reports, saying only: '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 and Sheila and their mother Linda are not portrayed in The Banker which focuses instead on his relationship with his first wife Eunice, portrayed on screen by Nia Long. It's something that the sisters also take exception with saying that some of the events in the movie took place following their father's divorce.
Cynthia Garrett, formerly an interviewer on MTV and VH1 who has since founded Cynthia Garrett Ministries and has spoken publicly to groups worldwide, sometimes recounting her years of alleged sexual abuse, says she is hoping that Hollywood rallies around her cause in the midst of the #MeToo movement. She also says that the shift of the timeline in the film is no small matter. “This entire project is poisoned. It’s the fruit of crime, lies and deception,” she writes in an open letter that she says she plans to publish online. The rep for producers counters that the film is based on the Garrett Sr. interviews and other materials to which it obtained legal rights.
Cynthia Garrett says she and her sister, Sheila Garrett, kept their abuse secret for a decade, even from each other, until her parents divorced and one day in the early 1980s her half-brother visited her mother’s home when all three were still living there. When her younger sister refused to leave her bedroom to greet him, Cynthia Garrett inquired as to why, and her accusations spilled forth. Realizing that day that both of them had been abused, they confided in their mother, Linda, who backs up her daughter's account of that day. A few years later, Sheila Garrett says she told her father, too, of the abuse. “He kind of, basically, swept it under the rug. And when I got married, I told my father I did not want Bernard Jr. there, so my father didn’t come to my wedding,” Sheila Garrett recalls.
Cynthia Garrett says producers of The Banker have contacted her numerous times in recent days, offering to show her the film and discuss her concerns. The attorney for Romulus says the film will be changed to describe it as "based on true events."
Apple purchased the drama earlier this year and plan to release it in theatres on December 6.