Filmmakers Michael Moore, left, and Emad Burnat. / Getty Images
Michael Moore says he recently came to the rescue of a friend, filmmaker Emad Burnat, who claims to have been held at Los Angeles International Airport and threatened with deportation.
Immigration officials briefly detained the Palestinian director of the Oscar-nominated documentary "5 Broken Cameras" on his way into the U.S. for Sunday's Academy Awards. "5 Broken Cameras" features footage Burnat shot in his occupied West Bank village, from everyday activities with his family to protests and shootings.
Burnat says that when he arrived at LAX from Turkey with his wife and 8-year-old son late Tuesday, he was told he didn't have the proper proof that he was an Oscar nominee. After about an hour of questioning, Burnat and his family were allowed to enter the country.
While he was detained, Burnat sent a text message to Moore, who then reached out to officials behind the Oscars ceremony for legal assistance with the matter.
Following the incident, Moore wrote a blog post criticizing immigration officials for their handling of Burnat and his family. Moore says that officials did not believe Burnat was in fact an actual Oscar nominee partly because he's also a Palestinian olive farmer.
"Apparently that was too much for Homeland Security to wrap its head around," Moore said in the post. He also wondered why immigration officials didn't just do an Internet search for Burnat's name to find out how he was.
Burnat had just been in the United States two weeks earlier giving interviews alongside his co-director, Israeli activist Guy Davidi.
Moore serves as Governor of the Documentary Branch for the Motion Picture Academy and co-hosted a special dinner Tuesday night for the directors of this year's best documentary feature nominees. Burnat was late to the dinner because of his detention at LAX.
"The Americans in the dining room apologized to Emad for the way our government and its security police treated him," Moore said, "We then sat down and ate some good ol' American roast beef."
On Wednesday afternoon, Moore and Burnat appeared on HuffPostLive to discuss the LAX incident.
Immigration officials have not responded to requests for comment.