Elton John film Rocketman banned over gay scenes
Samoa has banned the Sir Elton John biopic Rocketman because of the film’s depiction of gay sex.
Under Samoa’s laws, sodomy is illegal and punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The country’s principal censor told local media that the film did not “go well with cultural and Christian beliefs here”.
It comes after Sir Elton criticised a Russian distributor’s decision to cut sex scenes from the film.
The film tells the story of the musician’s rise to fame and includes a male sex scene. It also includes images of Sir Elton, his husband and their children.
Apollo Cinemas in the Samoa’s capital Apia wrote on its Facebook page: “Unfortunately due to censoring issues we have had to cancel ‘Rocketman’”.
Censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui told the Samoa Observer that the film is “not good for public viewing and violates laws against same-sex marriage.”
Films that include explicit sexual activity, explicit sexual violence, promotion of drugs or offence to religions are subject to bans, according to ABC.
Around 97% of Samoa’s population is Christian. It is not the first time that the country has banned a film over “cultural and Christian beliefs”.
In 2009, censors banned Milk, a film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. Samoa also banned The Da Vinci Code in 2006, arguing that it conflicted with the country’s religious beliefs.