Apple has abruptly cancelled the premiere of its first major film, The Banker, amid sexual abuse claims against the son of the real-life subject.
The film tells the story of Bernard Garrett, a black man who recruited a white man to front his growing financial business in 1960s America, before the Civil Rights Act was passed.
The protagonist’s son, Bernard Garrett Jr, was initially credited as a co-producer of The Banker, and was supposed to be one of the faces on the film’s press tour alongside stars Samuel L Jackson and Anthony Mackie.
Garrett Jr’s credit has disappeared from publicity materials and further appearances have been axed, with the film's premiere – originally scheduled for Thursday 21 November at the AFI Film Festival – being cancelled by Apple just one day before it was due to take place.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Garrett Jr's half-sisters have accused him of molesting them over the course of several years in the 1970s, when he was a young man living in their home.
Cynthia and Sheila Garrett also claimed that the timeline of the film was altered in order to exclude them and their mother from the story.
Apple was reportedly informed of Cynthia’s concerns via an attorney, who asked that the company shelve the film.
In a statement to IndieWire, Cynthia said: “They omitted my mom and my siblings and I entirely. Stole our mom and our life story and did so with our abuser. It hurts. Deeply. HOLLYWOOD needs regulations that make filmmakers way more responsible and accountable for taking people’s life stories and with whom they work.”
The Independent has contacted Apple, Garrett Jr and the film's production company, Romulus Entertainment, for comment on the claims.
In a statement on Wednesday 20 November announcing the cancellation of the premiere, Apple said: "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."