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
31.

gryffin    

No offense, but what us constitutional rights does he have? I feel safe that he was at least chexked out.

517 days ago
32.

vince    

tough ****, go back home if you don't llike it.

517 days ago
33.

Leonard    

He's a f*cking Palestinian FCS - what do you expect?

517 days ago
34.

MikeD    

This is total BS... and a Non-News story. It's all PR stuff to promote this dang Do***entary. Also, to this guy.. You are a Palestinian... your Group had sent
thousands of rockets into Israel, a peaceful Nation.
What the heck gives you any special privileges over
anyone else from the EU, Mideast, or wherever. Dude, you were delayed, what, 1.5 hours? Geezus almighty SUCK it UP and stop whining !

517 days ago
35.

Dr. Cornelia J. Dogbarker PhD    

Oh boo hoo, these pathetic so-called Palestinians are experts at playing the victim, it's part of their worthless culture. Put this guy, and his fat buddy, on the list for a mandatory cavity search each time they travel ha ha.

517 days ago
36.

Mona Mayy    

TSA really sucks...the other day I read a 3 year old girl in a wheelchair was completely searched, removed out of her wheelchair and toy taken away while balling because of how scared she was. really pissed me off.

517 days ago
37.

Truth    

DUDE COMES OFF AS AN ARROGANT PRICK. DONT GET A GOOD FEELING FROM THIS SH*THEAD. SOMETHING ABOUT THIS TERRORIST THINKS HE'S ALL THAT AND AMERICA "OWES" HIM. F*CK OFF U LITTLE ****. THEY SHUD HAVE DEPORTED HIS PALESTINIAN TERRORIST ASS AND SAVE THE ACADEMY OF FUNDING HIS PLANE TICKET AND HOTEL ROOM. DUDE AINT GONNA WIN ANYWAY... STILL A LOSER. #TRUTH!!

517 days ago
38.

Jim    

I don't understand. The Palestinians are such a fine upstanding group of people. They would never hurt anyone or cause any trouble. What was security thinking?

517 days ago
39.

SeeSomethingSaySomething    

**** you guys. I'm American, not ethnic per se but people are always surprised when they ask me where im from (and then we go back several generations) and i reveal nothing exotic about my family history. I used to get a kick out of confusing people. I got searched all the time immediately post 9/11, but I figured out it was because I didn't smile. Suddenly, the "random" (which was always) searches stopped. Now I act like a chirper ******* every time I step foot in an airport. Apparently that's all anyone needs to do to avoid detection because the search criteria is apparently looks possibly kinda probably foreign and not big on smiles.

517 days ago
40.

Truth    

BOO-F*CKING-HOO... SO THE TSA DIDNT BELIEVE YOUR LAME ASS EMAILS ON THE IPHONE. WELL OF COURSE F*CKIN NOT. ANY SH*T CAN BE FAKED THESE DAYS. WUT, U THINK EVERY TERRORIST WILL SIGN AN EMAIL "BIN LADEN MEMBER ID #XXXXXX"?? GTFO U DUMB PRICK. #TRUTH!!

517 days ago
41.

DanKosh    

sorry, we didn't realize you were special

517 days ago
42.

hummm    

so what? Who is not treated like dirt at the airport, no mentioning the airlines like Spirit. Nothing here to see, move on, you just want free publicity for your movie.

517 days ago
43.

Dr Samuel Weiscrak    

Remind me why i give a fvck Emad? oh that's right, I don't so STFU go home if you don't like how you were treated! Oh wait that's right you don't dumb asses don't have a place to call home anymore because you walked out of the UN believing the Arabs would destroy Israel and wipe out the Jews, and you would have it all to yourselves! Too bad, so sad, you loose!

+1 US CUSTOMS!

517 days ago
44.

John Elliott    

What does he expect coming from that part of the world. He is lucky we ever allowed his ass in the country.

517 days ago
45.

Gary Joyce    

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. in a private room! anf couldn't use his cellphone! With his family! OMG (as my 5 year old would say)...how dastardly we are, to think a palestinian might be worth watching! privately, of course. Whoever wrote this gas has never been in the Middle East apparently. *******s.

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

Around The Web