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

HRH 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:
NOW, The Most Holy Christ King Yeshua reigns!

617 days ago


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

617 days ago


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.....

617 days ago

buzz kill    

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

617 days ago


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 !!!!

617 days ago


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

617 days ago



617 days ago


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?

617 days ago

Most H8d     

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

617 days ago


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 it took an hour. Big deal.

617 days ago


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.

617 days ago


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

617 days ago


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

617 days ago


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!

617 days ago


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

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

Around The Web