Apple Pulls ‘The Banker’ from AFI Festival Over Last Minute “Concerns”

     November 20, 2019

Update: Details of the situation have surfaced, as allegations were made against Bernard Garrett, Jr., the son of the real-life character played by Anthony Mackie.

Apple has pulled its historical drama The Banker from the AFI Festival a day before it was scheduled to premiere as the closing film of the festival. A screening of Noah Baumbach’s comedy/drama Marriage Story, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, will be shown instead. [Read our update on the story here.]

The Banker tells the true-life story of two businessmen, Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson), who were accused of committing fraud in order to lend mortgages to black people who would’ve otherwise been denied those opportunities in a deeply segregated America. The film also stars Nicholas Hoult as the stand-in the two partners used to negotiate deals with white bankers in person.


Image via Apple TV+

“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,” an Apple representative said in an official statement. “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.”

Unconfirmed reports indicate that a family member of Garrett’s has come forward to an industry trade paper with serious allegations, and that Apple has put its plans to release the film on hold until the story breaks. Again, these reports are unconfirmed, but they seem to line up with the level of “concerns” that would cause Apple to abruptly cancel the premiere of its first major film release with barely 24 hours to spare.

“We support Apple’s decision to postpone the premiere of The Banker,” said an AFI Fest spokesperson. “Fortunately our partners at Netflix have generously allowed us to screen their critically acclaimed Marriage Story to close out AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre.”

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