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‘I love Italy’: Jason Momoa apologises over Sistine Chapel photos
US actor Jason Momoa apologised after fans reacted angrily to him taking snaps in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel despite a strict photography ban.
Published: 17 May 2022 10:15 CEST
Anyone who has visited the Sistine Chapel will recall the firm and repeated warnings from security staff: “no photos, please”.
But there has been an outcry in Italy and beyond after ‘Aquaman’ star Jason Momoa apparently paid to be allowed to disregard this rule on a recent visit to the Vatican City with friends.
Momoa. 42, is currently in Rome shooting ‘Fast X’, the 10th installment in the ‘Fast & Furious’ film saga.
He posted snaps and videos of himself on May 9th posing below the famous frescoes painted by Michelangelo with friends and what appear to be Vatican Museums staff.
But disgruntled fans quickly pointed out in the comments that visitors are typically forbidden from taking photos or videos in the chapel.
“We can’t take pics but celebrities can, nothing against Jason (I adore him) but it’s not fair,” one person wrote.
“All I remember about that place was ‘no photos please’,” another person wrote.
Others took issue with a video showing him reaching over a rope barrier to touch a sculpture.
“I cringed when he rubbed his hands on the art … not cool, dude,” one person commented.
On Saturday, Momoa posted another video in which he apologised for causing offence.
“If you ever thought I disrespected your culture, that wasn’t my intention,” he said in the video, in which he appears shirtless in the gym apparently following a workout.
He said he had given the chapel “a wonderful donation to bring my friends and crew because we only had a couple days off to go experience these places.”
“I would never want to do anything to disrespect someone’s culture,” he added.
“So if I did, I apologise and it wasn’t my intention. And I definitely paid to have that private moment and gave a nice donation to the church.”
The Sistine Chapel and the rest of the Vatican Museums complex is currently open to visitors as normal, following closures and limitations on visitor numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Regular online tickets cost €17 (around $21) via the official Vatican website. It is also possible to book a two-hour private tour of the Vatican Museums for €78 per person – though the booking website doesn’t mention any exceptions to the photography ban in the Sistine Chapel.