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

Trial date set in Castlegar RCMP shooting death

Constable Jason Tait has elected a jury trial.

RDCK recycling depots to join RecycleBC program

Some depots open, others close, and different materials will be accepted

Morning start: This famous singer is from the West Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Tuesday, May 26

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Most Read