UK

Donald Trump's Muslim Ban Has Barred Syrian Stars Of 'The White Helmets' Documentary Attending Oscars

British director wants exemption for subjects of Academy Award-nominated film.

31/01/2017 21:22 GMT | Updated 14/02/2017 15:10 GMT

The British-born director of the Oscar-nominated documentary depicting the actions of Syrian refugee crisis first-responders has urged the US Government to lift its travel ban for the subjects of the film.

Orlando von Einsiedel told The Huffington Post UK he and his team were overjoyed to discover The White Helmets, a Netflix original, had been nominated for an Academy Award.

He immediately started making travel arrangements for Raed Saleh, the leader of The White Helmets, and Khaled Katib, cinematographer and White Helmet volunteer himself, to join them at the ceremony in Los Angeles in February.

But their joy was short-lived after Donald Trump issued a “Muslim ban” on anyone from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan entering the United States, which means Saleh and Katib can’t even attend the awards. 

He told HuffPost UK:

“None of us pretend to understand the Trump administration’s travel ban or the motivations behind it. But what seems clear is that the effects are cruel and discriminatory.”