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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Smithers woman awarded $55K in RCMP excessive force suit

Irene Joseph alleged false arrest and assault and battery related to a 2014 incident in Smithers

Cannabis shop soon to open in Witset

Indigenous Bloom shop to be followed by cannabis cultivation facility in closed down sawmill

Celebrations continue for Tsilhqot’in Nation after court victory against Taskeo Mines Ltd.

Supreme Court of Canada upholds 2014 decision rejecting New Prosperity mine on May 14, 2020

Orphaned bear cub named after Snowbirds Capt. Jenn Casey to be cared for in Smithers

Neighbours assist in capture of Tappen Triplets now in care of Northern Lights Wildlife Society

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Still a lot of work to do to fully connect regional district

Draft strategy shows dependence on on single fibre optic cable route, poor cellular service on roads

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Most Read