‘The Banker’ Filmmakers, Actors & Below The Liners Express Solidarity On Film Postponed By Apple Over Controversy

BREAKING: On the week that their film was supposed to open in theaters as Apple’s first theatrical release, the makers of The Banker — above and below the line — have issued a statement in solidarity and support for the message contained within a feature film that became embattled when Apple abruptly pulled it from the coveted AFI closing night slot and indefinitely postponed its theatrical release. Apple took those steps after allegations were made in social media posts by Cynthia Garrett — daughter of the film’s main character Bernard Garrett Sr — that her half brother Bernard Garrett Jr (who was listed as co-producer) molested her and her sister decades ago. Garrett Jr has denied those charges and his name immediately disappeared from the producing credits, which he said was his decision. Garrett Jr’s name also doesn’t appear among the 53 who signed the statement below.

Cynthia Garrett has also complained that she and her mother, Linda Marie Garrett, was excluded from mention in the film, even though she was married to the late Garrett Sr when he was released from prison. Now, none of this has much to do with the story told onscreen, as the alleged abuse occurred after the film’s timeline. The George Nolfi-directed film details how the Texas-born Garrett Sr overcame racism and obstacles that made it nearly impossible for blacks to build wealth in the Deep South during the Jim Crow era and rampant racism. Garrett became a millionaire entrepreneur after moving to Los Angeles, and he teamed with another successful black business owner, Joe Morris, to buy banks in Texas for the purpose of providing loans to make it easier for other blacks who wanted to open businesses and buy homes. They used one of their white workers, Matt Steiner, to be the front man to buy two banks. Eventually the scheme was uncovered and Garrett Sr and Morris served time for the ruse. Anthony Mackie plays Garrett Sr, Samuel L. Jackson plays Morris, Nia Long plays Garrett’s wife Eunice and Nicholas Hoult plays Steiner. Apple contracted to partner on the film last July and committed to make The Banker its first theatrical release and a prime title on its streaming service. That promise, the uplifting story and cast made the film an expected awards race picture, but those prospects have dimmed due to the controversy. It is still unclear what Apple will do and attempts to reach Apple and Cynthia Garrett have been unavailing. Here is the statement:


“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. 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.”

Signed by:

George Nolfi – Director, Producer, Writer

Anthony Mackie – Actor, Producer

Samuel L. Jackson – Actor, Executive Producer

Nicholas Hoult – Actor

Nia Long – Actor

Scott Daniel Johnson – Actor

Jessie T. Usher – Actor

Colm Meaney – Actor

Paul Ben-Victor – Actor

James DuMont – Actor

GregAlan Williams – Actor

Bill Kelly – Actor

Michael Harney – Actor

David Maldonado – Actor

Gralen Bryant Banks – Actor

Rhoda Griffis – Actor

Joel Viertel – Producer, Editor

Brad Feinstein – Producer

David Lewis Smith – Producer, Writer

Will Greenfield – Executive Producer, Unit Production Manager

Carlo Hart – Co-Producer

Stan Younger – Writer

Niceole Levy – Writer

Brad Caleb Kane – Writer

Charlotte Bruus Christensen – Director of Photography

John Collins – Production Designer

Aieisha Li – Costume Designer

H. Scott Salinas – Composer

Kim Coleman – Casting Director

Tonya Cryer – Hair Department Head

LaToya Henderson – Make-Up Department Head

Stephen Moore – 1st Assistant Director

Andi Crumbley – Art Director

Lynne Mitchell – Set Decorator

Mike Scherschel – Prop Master

Kayla Gueho – Location Manager

David Martin – Key Assistant Location Manager

Harrison Huffman – Production Supervisor

Huxley Rodriguez – Production Coordinator

Serena Simpson – Sound Mixer

Chris Birdsong – Key Grip

Jon Lewis – Gaffer

Karlyn Exantus – Script Supervisor

Meagan Lewis – Local Casting Director Atlanta

Mary Jasionowski – Production Accountant

Chuck Jean – Post-Production Supervisor

Gordon Williams – Music Supervisor

Michael Hatzer – Supervising Digital Colorist

David Christopher Smith – Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer

Marti Humphrey – Supervising Sound Editor, Re-Recording Mixer

Christian Wood – Visual Effects Supervisor

Chris LeDoux – Associate Visual Effects Supervisor

Cindy Rago – Visual Effects Producer

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