AFI Fest pulls Apple TV+ film ‘The Banker’ over controversy [Updated]

Apple TV+ primarily relies on TV series to fill out the content catalog right now, but original films are on the way. That includes The Banker, which is having a bit of a rough go of things right now.

UpdateThat follow-up report is now live, published by The Hollywood Reporter. According to the publication, the film was pulled from AFI Fest, and its future is up in the air, due to sexual abuse allegations against the real-life subject’s son. Here’s the integral quote from the story:

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 and instead feature Bernard Garrett Sr.’s first wife, even though he had already divorced her by the time of some of the events depicted in the film.

One of the sisters, Cynthia Garrett, has been speaking privately with women’s groups about her abuse claims and named a relative in her 2016 self-published book. She is also authoring a new book outlining her survival, which is due from Salem/Regnery Books next year. Apple was informed of Cynthia Garrett’s concerns via an attorney who asked that the tech giant shelve the movie.

The original article continues below.

The Banker, which stars Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers) and Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), has been caught up in some controversy as of late. And, as a result of that, AFI Fest has decided to ultimately pull the film from its closing night spot. The Banker was set to have its worldwide premiere at the festival, airing this Thursday night.

The Banker was scheduled to hit a limited theatrical run starting on December 6. After that, the film would debut on Apple TV+ sometime in early 2020. However, due to the controversy, Apple has apparently decided to take a wait-and-see approach to the film for now.

Per Deadline:

I am told by sources within the company that those plans are now on hold while Apple takes a pause and investigates recently uncovered, and potentially damaging, charges that have surfaced from a family member of the late Bernard Garrett Sr, the man Mackie plays in the true story set in 1963. George Nolfi is the film’s director and recently appeared at Deadline’s The Contenders event to talk about the film with co-star Long.

Now, here’s Apple’s statement on the matter:

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.

So, the controversy itself. There isn’t much here because there isn’t a full story to go along with it. Yet. According to Deadline a trade paper is working on that right now, and allegations against Garret, Sr., will come to light in the near future. It’s those troubling elements that has caused AFI Fest to pull the film, and for Apple to change its own plans regarding the upcoming film.

It’s unknown right now what’s going to happen to The Banker, which is obviously some troubling news for Apple and its fledgling video streaming service. But Apple has a lot of films in the works, and plenty of additional TV series, documentaries, and even an anthology series coming down the pipe.

Basically, Apple will probably bounce back from this. But I imagine no one’s happy right now in regards to The Banker.