Days after Cynthia and Sheila Garrett publicly accused their half-brother Bernard Garrett Jr., the co-producer of Apple’s “The Banker,” of sexually molesting them as children in the 1970s, Garrett Jr. released a terse statement strongly denying the allegations.
“These charges against me are deeply humiliating and frustrating because I can never prove how false they are,” Garrett Jr. said.
He went on to say that Cynthia Garrett requested their father turn over his life rights to her, so that she could produce a movie based on his story, but the father declined and instead made Garrett Jr. in charge of those rights. He also implied, although without evidence, that half-sister Cynthia Garrett may have her own reasons for making these accusations, while also saying that he forgives his half-sisters and bears them no ill will.
In response to Garrett, Jr.’s statement, Cynthia Garrett has now released a statement of her own to IndieWire. Representing the Garrett family, she reiterates her previous accusations against Garrett, Jr. and refutes his claim that he was appointed custodian of their father’s life rights. She also shames the producers and legal representatives of “The Banker” for “defending the actions of a child molester.”
Apple declined to comment.
Over email, Cynthia Garrett also told IndieWire that she found out about the film at the “end of January [or] early February. My mom and sister and my siblings and I were in shock that our sexual abuser would try to abuse us yet again by stealing and lying about my mom after what he did to us. We were already broken from his abuse having spent years dealing with the depth of it in therapy etc. it just seemed unfathomable that he would continue hurting our family. I think we were all processing the shock of it for a while.”
She went on to say:
“My attorney suggested I try to reach Sam Jackson because we didn’t want to be public about all this. I called for help from someone and he tried to reach someone else who knows Sam. I couldn’t reach anybody. So I called a number of law firms where friends work but they couldn’t help because of conflicts.
“People said, ‘Who knows if they’ll get the film done. Or even sell it. Your brother is a child molester. It’ll come out. They won’t let him profit on this. It’s out there in the public for years that he abused you. Someone will ask questions or contact you guys for sure.’ Nobody ever did.
So we reached out to Apple when I learned of the movie release via trailers going viral. Just weeks ago. We couldn’t believe it. Nobody ever called us or tried to reach us. My mom is alive. We live in California. I work in the industry. It makes zero sense how nobody ever even tried to contact me. So through legal counsel we contacted Apple. We hoped we could discuss this privately with them and navigate what to do. We wanted nothing financial. We just wanted to be heard in the hopes they could figure out a way to correct this mess and stop our abuser from profiting and clearly deceiving them and others. After days thinking they would meet — they then refused to meet. We were devastated. My mom and sister were devastated. I woke up in the middle of the night vomiting from the torture of all this story so I spoke to a friend and they called a reporter at THR. He called us. Here we are.
“The Banker” was initially set to premiere at AFI Fest November 21, when Apple abruptly canceled the event after learning about Cynthia Garrett’s accusations. The film’s future is now uncertain. It was previously scheduled for a limited theatrical run beginning December 6, before debuting on the Apple TV+ streaming platform later in January. Both of those releases are now delayed.
Below is Cynthia Garrett’s statement:
“At 4 years old, Bernard Garrett Jr. forced himself on my baby sister in secret. He continued repeatedly whenever he could for years. It occurred in our home, and in a grove or field near our home, in Glendora, California. Additionally, Bernard Garrett Jr. forced himself on me in secret beginning at age 7 and continued for years. My abuse occurred in our home in Glendora, California and continued until we moved with our parents to the Bahamas. Bernie Jr did not come with us.
We spent years of our childhood in fear of being alone with him and many more years feeling silenced by the shame and darkness of what he did to us. When my sister was 16 and I was 19 I learned that she too had been abused. Recently I have learned that her abuse was even worse than mine. Bernard Garrett Jr. admitted the acts just days ago to my brother on the phone. My whole family of eight stands in unity on the truth of this. He has recently issued a statement filled with lies. With that statement he repeatedly rapes us.
Years later, he purported to have the rights to our father’s story. He did not. My father gave us the rights on video. He attempted to get a waiver from us in 2011 – which we did not give because he was a sex offender.
He went on in his statement to accuse my mother of not being faithful to my father. She was pregnant for seven years straight during this period. She is innocent in this and also a victim. …
It seems the legal representatives on this film want to position themselves as defending the actions of a child molester (and mentioning a 15 year age – which is inaccurate – and disgusting that they are inferring he was a minor – as they defend his position) – how sick!
It shows what we have seen from them the whole time – an exploitative orientation of our family.
To steal, kill and destroy is in Bernard Garrett Jr.s nature. It is shocking to see the makers of the Banker align with him in his rape.
Cynthia & The Entire Garrett Family
(except for Bernard Jr)”
Chris Lindahl contributed to this report.