Following Donald Trump’s Muslim ban last week, “The Salesman” director Asghar Farhadi, whose film is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category, canceled his plans to attend the ceremony, taking place on February 26. Trump’s new executive order includes a 90-day visa ban for citizens from seven Muslim countries, including Farhadi’s native Iran, and imposes a blockage for Muslim and Syrian refugees.
The American Film Institute (AFI) released a statement on Tuesday morning, acknowledging Farhadi’s work and stating that “any form of censorship – including the restriction of travel – [is] against all values we cherish.”
“Asghar Farhadi has served as Artist-in-Residence for the past two years at the AFI Conservatory, and his classes had a profound impact upon the 250 young men and women who attend AFI from around the world,” says the AFI statement. “The AFI Conservatory stands with artists and filmmakers who find the power of creation through freedom of expression and freedom of movement. We believe any form of censorship — including the restriction of travel — to be against all values we cherish as a community of storytellers. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Farhadi back to AFI in the fall.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science and the Writers Guild of America also released statements in solidarity wth the Iranian director. Farhadi previously won an Academy Award in 2012 in the Foreign Language category for “A Separation” and received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.