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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.


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So the Academy has lawyers on retainer to help with legal issues...ok. That makes some sense for some legal issues but a detained foreigner at the airport? How about if one of the nominees got pulled over for DUI? Would they pull strings with that too? And if they do have lawyers at their disposal, why didn't the guy call them first? Instead he contacts loud mouth Michael Moore? But he couldn't use his phone....but SOMEHOW he was able to ibform Moore of the situation enough to get him and the academy over it. Whatever dude. Cry me a river. Build me a bridge and get the fvck over it!

506 days ago


They always do. Even me... I don't look Arab. Still get harassed.

506 days ago

en Todo Momento!!    

so dud is saying that when westerners, especially women, travel to some dump arab islamic nation, the way they are treated upon entry is not 'like chit'? i thought these were interchangeable standards. i just love it when some dumbfks from some backwash slum demand the royal treatment, and want to be next in line to actual royals, like middleton et al. these princes from arabia realllllyy phkn think they are kings when they come to america. homeboy, you ain't foolin no one. you may as well be some damn terrorist, because that lies very clear in this place you are from. stop harassing US border investigations like we/they don't know what we are doing. you all ARE! terrorists. you really think they were being 'excessive'? give me a frkn break you idiot.

506 days ago

en Todo Momento!!    

this dude is kidding, right? 5 broken cameras, and he shows some 'kmart super special deal' hand held video cameras as 'broken'? uh, this is not really cinematic do***entary. it's like 'family vacation footage from a war zone'. the oscars must be out of their minds for nominating a 'family vacation' footage film for the oscars. crazy. the people in these countries are beasts with no real sense of reason. they see america and think the roads are plastered with $100 bills and all they need to do is bend over and lift up as many as they can carry. their sense of reason is just way beyond me. the people who originally settled here died, broke their backs and bodies, lost families, children and everything to build this place, by the millions. and then these kings and sultans from arabia come here, 200 years later and claim it all as theirs. really psycho and loony. they need to just go back to the dirt slum they came from and stfu.

506 days ago


I just read an article yesterday of THREE YEAR OLD in a wheelchair crying and saying she doesn't want to go to DisneyWorld anymore because of the "extra" frisking she was getting. Sorry for your inconvenience Mr Burnat, but welcome to the world of USA travel since 9/11

506 days ago

BB not bb    

Not like the TSA is good for anything, but this guy did not have the proper paperwork. An email allegedly from the Academy Awards is not a passport with a Visa. He said they threatened to send him back to Jordan, yet he claims to be a Palestinian film director living and working in Palestine, which is Isreal in terms of paperwork I think.

Maybe the Isrealis consider him a danger and woudln't give him a passport. I think he is a propagandist for jihad, first off. He is saying he is filming the story of the peaceful protests in the occupied terroritories. Those protests are anything but peaceful. That is the reason the IDF has to constantly fire back on them, then they come out crying that they are being abused.

I don't like the looks of this guy myself. I don't like his demeanor and the way he speaks. He does look like he is hiding a deep hatred for those outside of Islam.

The Jordanians who sachay into places like Gaza are the rabble rousers who make the conflict there worse. If the indigenous Palestinians were just there in peace, there would be less trouble. They have it better in Isreal than in any Arab nation, that is why they all ran back there after Isreal took over.

Michael Moore is a very short sighted individual. He sees things on the surface but doesn't get the big picture. He is intelligent and funny and yet lobbies for all the wrong things.

506 days ago


Sounds like he was treated like every other person is by the TSA. We are all treated like dirt.

506 days ago


Didnt believe he was nominated for an Oscar, thought it was a fake invite, how could they possibly check that?? Perhaps they could check google and solve it in a simple 5 minutes rather than an hour threatening he and his family on what should be a wonderful celebratory trip.

506 days ago


BB he had his passport etc. it was just the invite as his 'reason' for visiting the US that they didnt have. D you think they gave this trouble to other actors / directors etc from international countries, Racial profiling at its best.

506 days ago


Oh, get over it. I went through the same thing with my 4 yr old watching and we just laughed and made a joke about it. It is not about race , it is about security. Deal with it.

506 days ago

BB not bb

Latma satire news program dealing with this movie starting at 2:14. What I don't get is why they have a different person as the director. Maybe this man was just the star of the film, running around getting his camersa broken.

I think it is funny that they just broke his camera and didn't break his jaw.

506 days ago

BB not bb

The Iranian Bomb--The Song

Because this Gaza nonsense is a distraction while Iran is about to complete a nuclear bomb that can destroy Isreal in one shot. The militant Muslims are all united, no matter what country they hail from. They are all working to spread their dominance all over the world in praise of Allah, aka chief middler eastern demon.

506 days ago


Welcome to america

506 days ago


The director says the plane landed at 4:25 and he was let go at 6:10...everybody knows you have a long time from the plane landing to actually getting off the plane, getting thru customs, getting luggage, etc. I think he is exaggerating how long he was held. I know TSA has abuses, but I think the director is milking this thing.

506 days ago

BB not bb

The media tries to use this as a teaching moment that the Palestinians are always oppressed and abused, even when they are treated like everyone else. So this song is for all of those who are proud to be Isreali and proud to be Jews and don't need to deal with all the blame for their existence from the do-gooders and haters of this world.

506 days ago
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