September 22, 2020

Why Apple Scrapped the Release of Its Oscar Contender, ‘The Banker’

Ms. Garrett, who was a V.J. at VH1 in the 1990s and the host of the NBC talk show “Later” in 2000, said Apple was right to shelve “The Banker.”

“I applaud Apple for doing the right thing and choosing to stand with women and children,” she said in an interview. “As a woman of color, I feel pretty vindicated by the fact that Apple recognized us.”

But some people in Hollywood have questioned whether Apple was overly cautious.

“When you are in the business of distributing content, unless you have an indefensible claim against you, you don’t let issues and protests get in the way,” said Blair Westlake, a media strategist and a former media executive at Universal Studios and Microsoft. “In this case, it’s regrettable that Apple would let the displeasure and concerns of a small group of people, which may be justified and fact based, change their business plans.

“Once you open that door, any other topic or film could run the same risk,” Mr. Westlake continued. “It will likely have a chilling effect on those wishing to produce content for them.”

Tim Bajarin, the president of Creative Strategies, a Silicon Valley market research firm, said the company was right to tread carefully.

“Like Disney, Apple has a relatively squeaky-clean position with consumers, and they are known for protecting their customers, guarding their privacy and their security,” he said. “I think Apple’s position of cautiousness is important at this early stage in their streaming business. They don’t need the negative criticism on a particular movie. They need to prove their capabilities, and that their quality and their content is acceptable.”

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