Jason Momoa apologises after his Sistine Chapel photographs sparked criticism

Jason Momoa apologises after his Sistine Chapel photographs sparked criticism
Jason Momoa apologises for taking photos inside Sistine Chapel
Cover Media

Jason Momoa has sparked backlash after he posted a series of photos from inside the Sistine Chapel - something which tourists visiting the iconic landmark are not allowed to do.

The 42-year-old Game of Thronesactor posted several photos from inside the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City on Instagram to his 16.9m followers, the first couple of photos taken in front of The Last Judgement fresco by Renaissance artist Michelangelo, two videos showing the picturesque views outside, along with another video of him touching one of the sculptures.

"I LOVE YOU ITALY what a beautiful start to our day off enjoying ROMA." he wrote for the post's caption.

Any kind of photography or filming inside the chapel is prohibited - but not for the reason you may think...

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Some believe the ban is to do with the protection of renowned artwork from flash photography, but this is not true. The real reason is that in the 1980s the Vatican decided to let corporations bid for access due to the costly amount a much-need renovation of the chapel was going to be.

In the end, it was the Japanese company Nippon Television Network Corporation of Japan that provided the finances and so they got to obtain exclusive photographic, film and television rights for the renovations which took twenty years to complete, according to Mental Floss.

This deal did not allow ordinary tourists to take photos - although Nippon's exclusive rights expired back in 2019, photography and filming are still banned.

Due to this ban still being in place, fans were surprised and disappointed to see Momoa being able to break the rules and criticised the Aquaman actor in the comments.

One person said: "We can't take pics but ofc celebrities can, nothing against Jason (I adore him) but it's not fair."

"So they let the rich and famous film in there but us peasants can’t," another person wrote.

Someone else added: "Kinda tired of the elite's double standards being shoved in us common folks faces."

"You don't touch the sculptures! So disrespectful," a fourth person replied.

After receiving disapproval from people about his photo-taking in the Sistine Chapel, Momoa's original post still remains but he responded by posting an apology video on Instagram where he expressed his love for Italy and explained how fans approached him, wanting a photo.

"I just also wanted to say, if you ever felt that I disrespected your culture, it wasn't my intention," he said.

"I came here when I was 19 or 20 to really experience the Sistine Chapel and come to the Vatican, and the Pieta is one of my favorites. I've always wanted to, and now that I can, I gave a wonderful donation to bring my friends and crew because we only had a couple days off to experience these places."

"And then I found people really wanted to take pictures with me which was very odd, during a trip to the Vatican with all this wonder and they want to take pictures with me, which I don't get, but regardless, I did," the actor explained. "So I was very respectful, and I asked for permission from what I thought would be OK.

"I would never want to do anything to disrespect someone's culture. So if I did, I apologize. It wasn't my intention," Momoa added.

"I definitely paid to have that private moment and gave a nice donation to the church. I love you. I'm sorry if I offended you. My apologies."

"Just want to send my absolute admiration for the Italians and this beautiful country. [I also] want to send apologies for any disrespect," Momoa wrote in the post caption and added: "I love your culture and history."

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)