“The Salesman” director Asghar Farhadi is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, but don’t expect to see him at the ceremony: The Iranian filmmaker is one of 134 million people affected by Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, and has chosen not to attend. Michael Winship and Howard A. Rodman — the presidents of the Writers Guild of America East and West, respectively — have released a statement in solidarity with Farhadi denouncing the situation as “both unconstitutional and deeply wrong.”
“It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into,” they write. “The Writers Guilds of America, East and West condemn Donald Trump’s profoundly un-American ‘Muslim ban,’ and applaud the Federal Court’s decision to grant a stay that will keep those being held at American airports from being forcibly returned to their countries. Human rights — including the freedoms of speech and religion — are essential to all Americans and to all who come here to build better lives.
“We are especially troubled by reports that Asghar Farhadi, director of ‘The Salesman,’ which won Best Screenplay at Cannes and is now nominated for an Oscar, may together with his cast and crew be prevented from entering our country. From its early days, the entertainment industry has been built by the imagination of immigrants. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations, and of varying beliefs, who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful to them, we stand with them, we will fight for them.”
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Farhadi previously won the Foreign-Language Oscar for “A Separation,” also earning a Best Original Screenplay nod — a rarity for a foreign film.