FILE - In this May 20, 2019, file photo, musician Elton John and his husband producer David Furnish, left, arrive for the UK Film Premiere of Rocketman at the Odeon Luxe in London. The Pacific nation of Samoa has banned the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” because of its depictions of homosexuality. Most Samoans identify as Christian, and the society is generally considered conservative and traditional. Sodomy is also considered a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison, even if both parties consent. The movie examines John’s sexuality and relationship with then-manager John Reid.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

Samoa bans Elton John movie ‘Rocketman’ due to homosexuality

A Russian distributor also censored scenes from ‘Rocketman’ that featured gay sex and drug use

The Pacific nation of Samoa has banned the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” because of its depictions of homosexuality.

About 97% of people in Samoa identify as Christian, and the society is generally considered conservative and traditional. Under Samoa’s 2013 Crimes Act, sodomy is deemed an offence that is punishable by up to seven years in prison, even if both parties consent.

Samoa’s principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui told the Samoa Observer on Tuesday that the homosexual activity depicted on screen violated laws and didn’t sit well with the country’s cultural and Christian beliefs.

The censor did concede to the newspaper that “It’s a good story, in that it’s about an individual trying to move on in life.”

Apollo Cinemas Samoa wrote on Facebook that “due to censoring issues we have had to cancel Rocketman.”

The movie examines John’s sexuality and relationship with then-manager John Reid. It stars Taron Egerton who does his own singing as John in the musical fantasy that aims to capture the essence of the musician’s life.

A Russian distributor censored scenes from “Rocketman” that featured gay sex and drug use, and John wrote in a joint statement with the filmmakers that it was a “sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.”

Russian gay rights activists and prominent figures denounced the move. Although homosexuality is not criminalized in Russia, animosity toward gay people remains strong.

Samoa, which is home to about 200,000 people, also banned the 2008 movie “Milk,” in which actor Sean Penn portrayed American gay activist Harvey Milk.

Since opening 10 days ago, Rocketman has taken in about $101 million at theatres around the world.

READ MORE: A diminished ‘Godzilla’ still bests ‘Rocketman,’ ‘Ma’

Nick Perry, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ninja groups could be setting children up for identity theft, online safety expert says

‘When I started seeing entry codes into secure buildings, I’m thinking oh my God, what are we doing?’

Close call has North Saanich councillor appealing for traffic safety

Coun. Jack McClintock is using an incident involving his daughter to highlight traffic safety

Federal government tenders remediation of Sidney’s Reay Creek pond

With tendering deadline of June 12, Transport Canada admits project is behind schedule

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Most Read