Elton John biopic “Rocketman” was banned from the island nation Samoa last week due to its depiction of homosexuality onscreen.
“We’re concerned with the cultural values and also the Christian beliefs here in Samoa — it’s not appropriate for public viewing,” censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui said.
In Samoa, “sodomy” is illegal and is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Over 97% of the population is Christian.
Samoa has previously banned the Harvey Milk biopic “Milk” in 2009, as well as the 2006 film “The Da Vinci Code.” Last year, Samoa edited scenes from a screening of the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Last month, it was reported that Russia had censored scenes of gay sex from “Rocketman,” an action that earned a sharp criticism from John and the filmmakers.
“We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor ‘Rocketman’ for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today,” John and the filmmakers said in a statement. “Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all. That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is 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. We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”
“Rocketman” stars Taron Egerton as John in a musical biopic about the British pop singer’s life and career.