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.

Just Posted

Grass fire sparks in West Kelowna

The blaze is just off Lower Glenrosa Road

Active transportation gets easier in Kelowna

Skateboards, scooters to share roadways with cyclists following bylaw update

Starbucks gets Kelowna councillors seal of approval

New coffee shop to open in Taco Time building

Survive an Apocalypse in Kelowna with this virtual game

Apocolypse Made Easy is an interactive online survival game

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Mini-horse visits residents at Lower Mainland care home

Gunner turned a visit with grandpa into a major event for everyone at the residence

Women sue former Vancouver cop over alleged sexual abuse during pimp case

Two women claim James Fisher caused psychological trauma during the Reza Moazami investigation

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Rascal Flatts extend summer tour to the South Okanagan

Rascal Flatts create a Forever Summer Playlist tour extending it into the fall

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused B.C. cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Most Read