U.S. Ambassador the United Nations Nikki Haley praised “Cries From Syria” on Twitter last week, writing that Evgeny Afineevsky’s documentary “gives a telling history of the fight for freedoms & human rights in Syria from a brutal dictatorship.” A few days later, she deleted the tweet without explanation. Haley has yet to comment on her reasons for doing so, but Afineevsky provided IndieWire with a statement:
“Nikki Haley’s deleted tweet about ‘Cries From Syria’ is unsettling. Since her appointment, she has been dedicated to fighting against injustice for the Syrian people. As a mother, she stood for Syrian kids and spoke out against chemical attacks, and called out the criminal Assad regime. So why, when she has already recognized the atrocities of the Syrian dictatorship, would she delete a tweet in support of a film that also details these atrocities?
“If we are a democracy that prides itself on freedom of speech, why would a government official expressing herself about a relevant film be a problem? Are our government officials being told what to say and how to say it? When I was shooting this film on the ground in and around Syria, I knew my First Amendment rights would allow me to bring this story to the world without fear of censorship.
“Despite the threats to my life, I cherished—and continue to cherish—the freedom of expression afforded to me as a U.S. citizen. I was born in Russia, and I know what happens when these rights no longer come freely.”
The film, which premiered at Sundance, is now available to watch on HBO. A screenshot of Haley’s now-deleted tweet can be found below: