Art And Culture

Actress Alidoosti Boycotts Oscars Over Trump’s Visa Ban

Actress Alidoosti Boycotts  Oscars Over Trump’s Visa BanActress Alidoosti Boycotts  Oscars Over Trump’s Visa Ban
As one of Iran’s most prominent actresses, her tweet has gone viral and covered by several major international websites

Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, a co-star in the Iranian film 'The Salesman', an official nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category in the 2017 Academy Award, said Thursday that she would boycott the Oscars ceremony to protest US President Donald Trump’s executive order on the temporary ban on visas to citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Trump issued an executive order to suspend immigration for at least 30 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. He told ABC News on Wednesday that his plan was not a 'Muslim ban', but targeted countries that 'have tremendous terror.'

Alidoosti made her intentions clear on her Twitter feed, writing: “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest.”

As one of Iran's most prominent actresses, her tweet has gone viral and been covered by several major international websites including Aljazeera, Daily Mail, the Independent, NBC News, the Guardian and Huffington Post, France 24, and Hollywood Reporter, among others.

In an email interview with the New York Times, she said she would not attend the Oscars ceremony on February 26 even if it turned out the proposed ban did not affect her eligibility to get a visa.

"I decided not to go even if I could, because it hurts me deeply to see ordinary people of my country being rejected for what might be their legal right to have access to their children abroad or to universities as students," Alidoosti said.

'The Salesman' is one of five films vying for the best foreign language film. It is directed by the acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi whose 'A Separation' won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012.

Alidoosti, 33, said she had not discussed her decision with Farhadi and did not know who would represent the film at the ceremony. She said the director had generally brought the lead actors of his films to foreign awards ceremonies, including to the Cannes Film Festival, where 'The Salesman' received a strong critical reception last May.

"I’m sure the US has also benefited many times from Iranian immigrants and people who have worked there and served that country," Alidoosti added. "So it’s not acceptable to me to respect a state that does not respect the people of my country."

 Will Farhadi Attend?

Directors of Oscar-nominated foreign language films are given four tickets to the awards ceremony and can hand them out accordingly. It is still unclear whether Farhadi will attend after what Alidoosti said, and in the event he decides to go, who will accompany him at the ceremony.

Farhadi, who has not commented on the issue yet, used his Oscar speech in 2012 to protest against measures that isolated Iran, saying: “At the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of Iran is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.”

This is not the first time that the Oscars have sparked conversation about racial politics. Last year, American actress Jada Pinkett-Smith and American filmmaker Spike Lee boycotted the Oscars ceremony to protest the fact that for the second year in a row, all 20 nominees in the four acting categories were white. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter as people critiqued the lack of diversity.

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