In a last-minute decision, Apple has canceled a planned gala screening of “The Banker,” one of the tech company’s flagship original films that was meant to close AFI Fest on Thursday in Hollywood. Netflix has stepped in and will screen Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed “Marriage Story” in its place.
“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,” Apple said in a 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.”
The festival, an annual event mounted by the American Film Institute, supported Apple’s decision and thanked Netflix for providing a pinch-hitter. In September, Variety exclusively reported that the company set “The Banker” for a limited release beginning Dec. 6 with plans to hit the Apple TV Plus app in January. The company declined to comment on whether the rollout plans are under review.
While Apple would not elaborate on specific claims, insiders close to the project pointed to a comment on a recent IndieWire article. A reader claiming to be a family member of Bernard Garrett Sr., portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the film, is accusing a relative who helped bring Garrett’s story to the screen of altering history, whitewashing and sexual abuse against the women in her family. The man in question is Bernard Garrett Jr., whom the accuser says is her half brother.
Popular on Variety
Submitted under the name Cynthia Garrett, the comment calls on Apple to accurately portray the family’s story — a compelling tale about how Garrett and his business partner stealthily acquired property and eventually claimed ownership of a regional bank in the South in the 1950s, despite intense racial bias.
Cynthia Garrett did not immediately return Variety‘s request for comment.