Jason Momoa apologizes for taking photos inside Sistine Chapel: 'I would never want to do anything to disrespect someone's culture'

·2 min read
Jason Momoa apologized for filming inside the Sistine Chapel. (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)
Jason Momoa apologized for filming inside the Sistine Chapel. (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

Jason Momoa is apologizing to the Italian people "for any disrespect" after being criticized for sharing photos taken inside the Sistine Chapel, where photography and filming are banned.

In a video initially shared to Just Jared and later posted to his personal Instagram account, the Dune actor, 42, interrupted his workout to address backlash over the footage taken during his visit to Vatican City. Momoa has been in Italy filming Fast X, the 10th installment in the Fast & Furious series.

Hitting the gym for the first time since having hernia surgery six weeks ago, Momoa reflected on his love for Italy, where shooting on the film has now wrapped.

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

Momoa — who announced his separation from wife Lisa Bonet in January and has since been linked to actress Eiza González — added that during his visit, he was approached by fans wanting to get photos with him.

"[It's] 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," he said. "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," he continued. "I 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."

"I love your culture and history," he added in his Instagram post caption, which expressed love for the Italians.

According to Mental Floss, the ban on filming and photography in the Sistine Chapel stems from a long-standing copyright agreement with Japan's Nippon Television Network Corporation, which funded its extensive restoration project launched in 1980. While some terms have expired, and enforcement of the rules has been inconsistent — as Momoa's experience suggests — the Vatican has adopted a blanket policy, presumably to protect the valuable paintings contained within the chapel.

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