The son of pioneering African-American banker Bernard Garrett has defended himself against sexual molestation allegations that have stalled the release of a new film about his father.
Apple bosses pulled The Banker, starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, from closing the AFI Fest in Los Angeles last week (21Nov19) and have since scrapped the movie's December cinema release amid an investigation surrounding Bernard Garrett, Jr.
His name has also been stripped from the film's credits following accusations levelled at him by his half-sisters Cynthia and Sheila Garrett in a recent Deadline story.
Mackie, who portrays Garrett, Sr. in the film, bought up banks in Texas with his partner Joe Morris (Jackson) in the 1950s, and then hired a white man to front the operation while they pretended to be a janitor and a chauffeur.
The film was set to hit theatres on 6 December.
Answering his sisters' claims in a new statement, Bernard Garrett, Jr. writes: "My half-sisters Cynthia and Sheila have accused me of molesting them in the early 1970s, when I was a teenager of about 15. This simply never happened. Period. What did happen is that I told my father when I discovered that their mother Linda was cheating on him, and they have always blamed me for the break-up that followed.
"What did happen is that Cynthia asked my father - twice - to give her the right to make a movie of his life story, and twice he turned her down, and instead decided to entrust those rights to me and a friend of mine.
"These charges against me are deeply humiliating and frustrating because I can never prove how false they are. I can only hope that people will keep an open mind, and though I forgive my sisters and bear them no ill-will, I do hope that people will educate themselves on who Cynthia is - and why she might make these accusations right now - before they take her words as truth."
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