Skip to main content

Jason Momoa: "I disrespected culture" over off-limits Sistine Chapel photos

Jason Momoa poses for photos in the Sistine Chapel
(Image credit: IG @prideofgypsies)

Jason Momoa, the Hollywood superstar famous for playing characters such as DC's Aquaman and Dune's Duncan Idaho, has apologized for "disrespecting culture" with photographs taken inside a religious building where photography is banned.

The actor and camera aficionado (opens in new tab) issued an apology for recently capturing pictures inside the Apostolic Palace, Sistine Chapel, Italy, which is off-limits to photography, as flash can be harmful to the artwork.

• These are the best travel cameras  (opens in new tab)

Jason Momoa took to Instagram to share his pictures enjoying his trip to Italy, where he has been filming the upcoming movie Fast X. However, the 42-year-old Aquaman 2 star soon found himself in hot water as fans were outraged that he – along with tourists and what appears to be security – took photos inside the Sistine chapel.

His Instagram followers soon took their anger out in the comment section, with one user saying, "We can't take pics but celebrities can, nothing against Jason (I adore him) but it's not fair".

In suitably Momoaic fashion, the star released a video apology saying that it wasn’t his intention to "disrespect the culture" (after pushing a load of iron while listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers). 

"I came here when I was 19 or 20 to experience the Sistine Chapel, 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 of days off to experience these places," Momoa continued. 

"And then I found people wanted to take pictures with me, which is 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." 

However, these are the same images that got the Hollywood actor into deep water with the Vatican and his loyal fanbase. Momoa ended his apology video by saying, "I would never want to do anything to disrespect someone’s culture. If I did, I apologize. It was not my intention. 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 personal take is Momoa was just living in the moment and got excited in his surroundings – we all do it. But it does comes just a day after he posted a video were he said that the Paparazzi can F*%@o* and offered the press photos for free (opens in new tab)….

Read more:

Best compact camera (opens in new tab)
Best Leica camera (opens in new tab)
Best cinema camera (opens in new tab)
Best Leica M Lenses (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.