TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Palestinian Director

Airport Officials Treated Me

Like Dirt

2/20/2013 4:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

022013_director_tmzlive_launch
U.S. Customs treated Oscar-nominated Palestinian director Emad Burnat like a NATIONAL THREAT last night at LAX -- putting him and his family in an isolated room and ordering him not to use his cell phone -- so says the director ... but law enforcement says he's exaggerating.

You'll recall ... Burnat's friend Michael Moore flipped out while Burnat was detained at the airport, tweeting like mad about the injustices of U.S. Customs and Border Protection ... and today, Burnat joined us on TMZ Live to discuss his experience.

Burnat -- whose documentary "5 Broken Cameras" is up for an Academy Award -- told us, he was stopped by immigration upon his arrival in the States ... and what followed was nightmarish.

Burnat says the customs officers did not believe him when he told them he was an Academy Award-nominated director ... so they put him and his family into an isolated room to question them, threatening to deport them back to Palestine.

Burnat says he tried to show the agents the email he received from the Academy -- which contained his Oscar invite -- and even tried to show his hotel reservation ... but they weren't having it.

When he tried to text and email friends for help, Burnat says he was instructed not to use his phone. Luckily, Burnat says he was able to slip a message to Michael Moore informing Michael of the situation ... and Michael sounded the alarms, notifying Academy officials who then contacted their lawyers.

Burnat says he was detained for roughly an hour-and-a-half total -- and when he was finally released, he was never given an apology.

But law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Burnat is embellishing the story ... and that he was only sent to a secondary screening area simply to answer questions ... and was only detained for 25 minutes, total.

We raised the issue with Burnat -- but he's adamant, he was mistreated.

143 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

His Prince Michael    

Be shamelessly groped by strangers, under the guise of "National Security"?
Only in the Pharaoh and Man-Hating Napolitano's "America".
NOT, for long.


The House of David 2 Chronicles 13 Victory, is HERE:
www.all4webs.com/x/w/all4yahweh
www.flickr.com/Photos/72265268@N08
NOW, The Most Holy Christ King Yeshua reigns!

420 days ago
2.

DaveT    

Airports always sucked, suck even worse since increased "security" funded by the hardworking taxpaying citizens who inevitably end up being victims by those they pay

420 days ago
3.

Realist    

Shocking. A man with a passport from a country whose leadership is listed as a terrorist threat was chosen for further screening. Next you'll tell me they're gonna check the shoes of the guy tiptoeing towards security.....

420 days ago
4.

buzz kill    

A friend of Michael Moore, Boo F*ck'n Hoo

420 days ago
5.

T-bone    

That needs to be investigated !!!! Im sure there are security cameras in that "secondary" room. If the TSA is lying that is dangerous for everyone !!!!

420 days ago
6.

YouDontSay    

I totally believe him. TSA had treated me disrespectful and others. TSA needs to be taken out of all airports.

420 days ago
7.

KittyKittyKitty    

Yikes!

420 days ago
8.

Stiletto    

Awww...poor baby...How about a nice pork & bacon sammich to soothe your hurt feelings. TSA treats US citizens like dirt 24/7...are they supposed to roll out the red carpet for some visitor from a terrorist country?

420 days ago
9.

Most H8d     

You should've been treated like S***. Shouldve never let passed security. Probably a terrorist

420 days ago
10.

TrixLaRue    

I really think this is a ridiculous story. We bitch when they make a mistake. We bitch when they are too cautious. You better believe we will bitch when something horrible happens. We can't have it all people. Security is not meant to be pleasant. It is meant to protect us. He got in. That is all that matters...so it took an hour. Big deal.

420 days ago
11.

awards    

Why didn't he detonate his vest, eh? Get over it, the TSA is just profiling and his number came up. Happens all the time. When you trade liberty for security, you get neither.

420 days ago
12.

Nonsense    

So go home to your beautiful, peaceful country where everyone is polite and respectful of others. Such s garden of Eden is Palestine.

420 days ago
13.

DeeMaree    

I believe Burnat. And since they technically weren't involved I'm not going to take this opportunity to say TSA sucks.

420 days ago
14.

BigLou    

Oh well....I'd rather see our customs agents stopping and questioning people that look like him than 92 year old white women in wheelchairs. Hey, you don't like the way you were treated, you're welcome to get the **** out of our country!

420 days ago
15.

SSinOC    

Don't doubt he was hassled. If the guy was an Israeli director they'd probably have given him the royal treatment. :/

420 days ago
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web