Samoa bans movie due to homosexuality
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Pacific nation of Samoa has banned the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” because of its depictions of homosexuality.
About 97 percent 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 offense 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 today 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.
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 theaters around the world.
Court agrees to listen to ‘Stairway’ appeal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — “Stairway to Heaven” will get another hearing, this time to a packed house.
A panel of 11 judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Monday to hear Led Zeppelin’s appeal in a copyright lawsuit alleging the group stole its 1971 rock epic from an obscure 1960s instrumental.
In a 2016 trial that included testimony from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant, a jury found that “Stairway to Heaven” did not significantly resemble the song “Taurus,” written by the late Randy Wolfe and performed by his band Spirit.
But in September, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit ruled that the judge at the trial had failed to advise the jury properly, and ordered a new trial. The judges unanimously found that the trial judge was wrong to tell jurors that individual elements of a song such as its notes or scale may not qualify for copyright protection, because a combination of those elements may qualify if they are sufficiently original.
Led Zeppelin’s lawyers moved to the next level of appeal, asking for the larger group of judges to rehear the case, and the request was granted. The 11-judge panel will hear the case in late September in San Francisco.