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

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.


No Avatar


I am just a little european white blond girl and they treated me like a criminal at the emigration. I just often come to visit my friends, I work in my country and spend my money in the US. That's all... not looking for a job. But they questionned me for hours and took my phone and passport. My family and friends were so worried because they didn't have news from for hours. They didn't want me to call them. I remember in tv show, they say you can have one phone call. Not at the airport. And when they finally let me go, nothing not a sorry. I was traumatized for a while because it's scary. I felt like in american movies. Not funny. Not funny at all....

587 days ago


Lets see, he comes from a nation known for violence. Oh thats right, they say they have no nation, His government has threatened to destroy a major ally, save your anti israel crap, it is what it is, and if he is just let pass because that tub of liberal lard thinks it's the thing to do, why sure. There are consequences for action, even for friends of Michael Moore.

587 days ago

judy jetson    

Go back to Palestine crybaby and take Michael Moore with you!!!

587 days ago

Dr Samuel Weiscrak    

That's odd, I didn't think a Muslim could be friends with swine like Micheal Moore. Does he eat bacon too?

587 days ago


BFD. They treat random people worse than the treatment this guy got. My MIL has to go thru extra security every time she flies, becuz back in 2001 she had a ticket with her first name misspelled. A little old gray haired grandma. Some friends of our have a disabled kid who wears leg braces. They offered to take the braces off the kid b4 he went thru the detector and put the braces thru the xray scanner. The bastards @ Burbank Airport refused, made the kid walk thru with the braces which of course set off the metal detector. They then put this skinny little boy in a freaking bomb box and held him in there for half an hour while dozens of TSA agents congregated around. Wouldn't let his parents near him. The poor kid was hysterical. They told him to take off the braces and put them thru the xray machine (which the parents wanted to do in the first place). Then they searched the kid and finally let him put on his braces alone (wouldn't let the parents help) and let him go. My friends wanted to kill these mf'ers. Oh, and they missed their flight. This kid is blonde, blue eyed, which I only mention to show they aren't profiling. They are equal opportunity bastard harrassers. They will **** over anyone. This director had it easy compared to a lot of Americans.

587 days ago


So, go back to Palestine. Maybe you can find a school bus full of children to bomb since that seems to be one of the favorite pastimes of your people.

587 days ago


boo fu ckin hoo...why should you get special treatment just because youve been nominated for some meaningless award

587 days ago


Should have sent him packing!

587 days ago


I am fed up with people in the entertainment industries thinking they deserve special treatment at the airports, and usually getting it. They should be treated like everyone else.

587 days ago


That's because u r dirt.

587 days ago


This is the normal way TSA acts always... there is no shock in this article, well there is one, how come you guys are so surprise??, did they check your fingers? of course they did... they did it twice, well shocker they do it usually twice.... this has happened to everyone, it doesn't matter if you travel regularly or not. Every time I travel I have to bring my bank statements, any do***ent that I can use to prove my background, etc. My dad has been sent to that little room in the back and left alone for over 3 hours without asking him any questions or explanations of why he is taken there and we have missed flights, had to pay extra hotels and more thanks to the TSA and obviously there are nor apologies... the really surprising thing is that this guy wasn't told that he should have all the paperwork in hand if he had everything in hand everything would have run smoother and they always say not to use movil devices when you are in customs

587 days ago


Looks like all the Zionist came out from under their rocks to comment on this thread.

587 days ago


I think most of the ignorant jerks on this thread should watch his film. Go learn something instead of believing everything mainstream media feeds you. Israel is not innocent either.

587 days ago


So? If you don't like it, go back to your own country where everyone hates the U.S.

587 days ago


STF up you bunch of cry babies always complaining about something. if you don't like the rules at the airports then walk .... God forbid anyone be inconvenienced for a matter of safety . i have flown a lot and TSA has always been professional. you are probably all the same people i see up and walking around on take off when you are suppose to be seated. self absorbed and myopic !

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

Around The Web