Samoa bans 'Rocketman' over gay content
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The Pacific island nation Samoa has banned "Rocketman," the recent movie based on the life of British musician Elton John, because of its depiction of his sexuality. 

Samoa’s principal censor, Leiataua Niuapu Faaui, told the Samoa Observer on Monday that the government banned the film last week because it violated the country's "culture and our Christian beliefs." 

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Faaui conceded that the film was "a good story, in that it’s about an individual trying to move on in life," The Washington Post reported

Approximately 97 percent of Samoa's population of nearly 200,000 people is Christian. Sodomy was deemed a crime that could result in up to seven years in prison under a 2013 crimes act, the Post noted of the conservative nation. 

Apollo Cinemas Samoa reportedly said on Facebook that it had canceled screenings of the film due to "censoring issues."

"Rocketman," starring Taron Egerton, depicts John's early years in the music business, chronicling his rise from a child playing the piano to an international pop star. The film also examines John's sexuality and includes scenes of sex and characters taking drugs. 

A Russian distributor last month cut several minutes of content featuring the singer's homosexual relationships and drug use. John and the film's production company condemned the move, saying in a statement that they "reject in the strongest possible terms" any changes to the film's content.

“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," they added.