U.S. State Department deletes congratulatory tweet for Oscar-winning director who opposed Trump’s immigration order

March 1, 2017 • 9:45 am

Well, compared to the damage our new President is likely to do to the country, this incident doesn’t count as much. But it’s a sign of how mean-spirited the administration is.

As you may know, Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian director, won the Oscar this year for Best Foreign-Language film for “The Salesman.” (I haven’t yet seen it, but it gets a 97% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) But this wasn’t his first win: he nabbed the same award for his 2012 movie “A Separation.” Here’s a man who knows what he’s doing.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government doesn’t share that view, at least publicly. As Reuters reports. the U.S. State Department’s official Persian language Twitter account initially congratulated Farhadi for his win, and then deleted the tweet. Why would it do that? Here’s one clue:

Farhadi boycotted the Oscars ceremony to protest Trump’s January executive order that temporarily banned entry to the United States by Iranians and citizens of six other Muslim-majority countries, and issued a statement criticizing the order. The ban was blocked by federal courts, although the administration is working on a new order.

Farhadi chose two Iranian-Americans – a female engineer and a former NASA scientist – to represent him at the ceremony. Anousheh Ansari, an engineer who was the first female space tourist, read a statement on Farhadi’s behalf calling the travel ban “inhumane.”

“Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war,” Ansari said, reading from Farhadi’s statement.

According to screenshots circulating on Twitter, the @USAdarFarsi account posted a message around 1 a.m. EST congratulating Farhadi on the award, which was Iran’s second Oscar victory. The tweet was then deleted, although it is unclear exactly when.

“A congratulatory tweet was posted,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “We later removed the post to avoid any misperception that the USG (U.S. government) endorsed the comments made in the acceptance speech.”

. . . The @USAdarFarsi account, which launched in February 2011 and seeks to engage directly with Iranians, had previously tweeted messages about “The Salesman,” including on Jan. 24, when it noted its Academy Award nomination and sent best wishes to Farhadi.

That tweet, which is still online, was published days before Trump issued the travel ban that sparked Farhadi’s protest.

Umm. . . congratulating him for his win doesn’t mean endorsing everything he says, though in this case I agree with both Farhadi’s sentiments and his gesture. But the State Department could have been big enough to congratulate the man for his achievements (after all, aren’t we trying to be friends with Iran?) without a mean-spirited revocation of those congratulations.

Here’s the tweet captured by Steve Herman before it was deleted. I can’t read the Persian, but perhaps a reader can.

From Reuters and the Torygraph


Here’s Farhadi at the 2012 Academy Awards in 2012 with his Oscar for “A Separation”:


20 thoughts on “U.S. State Department deletes congratulatory tweet for Oscar-winning director who opposed Trump’s immigration order

  1. It’s very obvious the republicans have nearly all jumped at the chance to kiss Trump’s ring or whatever else he chooses to show them, so they will also rise or fall with the outcome of his term.

    1. With an announced 37% cut in the State Department budget, I imagine that even civil service employees who disagree with Trump’s policies are seriously considering a little brown nosing.

      1. Hey, we don’t need no stinking state department when we have Trump. He can do all that at night when he is tweeting.

        The really lowest moment of his address last night was dragging the wife of the dead Navy Seal out there for praise and two minutes of standing ovation. Enough to make an Alligator gag. And interesting since the father of the guy would not even meet with Trump and is demanding an investigation.

        1. And then, shortly after that he quotes the bible on something or other. Has this guy no shame at all? He uses the widow to make himself look good, pretends that the dead Navy Seal is “looking down” and is happy about all the applause, and then quotes the bible. Unbelievable. And, it DID make me gag.

  2. Judging from the headlines, Der Drumpfenfurher managed to give a “presidential” presentation of what, when I read the description of the content, is the exact same batshit insane policies everybody rational is up in arms about.

    But, because of the “presidential” tone, nobody is upset any more.

    So, that seems to be the secret. You can build a border wall, have your jackbooted thugs kidnap people in the dark of night, slash dozens of billions from domestic support to pay for killing brown people, attack the press and disparage the courts, and on and on and on…

    …just so long as you’re not actually, literally, frothing at the mouth as you do so.

    So long as Señor Smallinpants manages to control the drool, it seems, even the loyal opposition will be more loyal than opposed.



  3. When all decisions are made on the basis of an ideology that endorses xenophobia and racism and that exalts American exceptionalism, this is the inevitable outcome. There is no room for compassion, forgiveness and empathy.

    1. There is no room for compassion, forgiveness and empathy.

      There is : it’s in the column for “chargeable extra services” on the bill.
      I think I’m getting the hang of thinking like a businessman thanks to Donald Smallhands.

  4. I mentioned on an earlier thread about “normal” being relative to a context. This is an example of that – just a tiny bit by itself, but part of a larger situation.

  5. I didn’t/can’t watch so don’t know how much “better” he did. I do hope he’s taking time from his tweets to learn how to give a speech
    even if the content remains the same ol’ drek. I hope there are enough of us who still recognize BS when we hear it. I also hope that he learns more, and soon.

    He’s definitely the president of the US citizens Hillary Clinton unfortunately called “a basket of deplorables.” So many of them are ignorant about distinctions between Iranians and Indians or one group of so-called foreigners and another. Some even bridle at American-born citizens of Puerto Rican ancestry singing the national anthem at football games. None of them thar darkies ought to be here. “Get out of my country!”

    1. Some even bridle at American-born citizens of Puerto Rican ancestry singing the national anthem at football games.

      That one is news to me. No surprise, but news.

      None of them thar darkies ought to be here. “Get out of my country!”

      You got the tone to a tee.

  6. “After all, aren’t we trying to be friends with Iran?”

    I hope not, with this Iranian regime that oppresses its citizens, attacks its neighbors, operates the terror organization Hezbollah and calls USA the Great Satan.

    I think deletion of the congratulatory tweet was appropriate, after Farhadi badmouthed the country that gave him the award. Not that I rush to blame Farhadi. I have also lived under a ruthless totalitarian regime. Most likely the poor man was told what to say and actually would prefer to say similar (or worse) things about the thugs ruling Iran.

    1. With respect, Maya, bullshit.

      The country (USA) didn’t give him the award, the Academy did (and many of its members were just as scathing about Drumpf’s policies as Farhadi was).

      The suggestion that he was told what to say is just insulting.

      And ‘being friends with Iran’ just means not driving the country into the arms of its religious-right extremists, as I’m sure you know.


      1. P.S. And, if the US is not trying to ‘be friends’ with at least some Iranians, what’s the Persian Twitter account for?


      2. The Academy doesn’t hang in free space. It is a US institution. If it were an Iranian or (say) Russian institution, or even an institution of a European country with excellent cinematography, nobody would give a damn about its awards.

        Of course, Farhadi may have spoken according to his own desire (I almost wrote “free will”). He may be a supporter or a puppet of the Mullahs. However, (1) I try to be charitable to people less fortunate than me, particularly if I have been before in the same boat, and (2) the mere fact that Farhadi can criticize Trump but not the Iranian regime makes void any criticism of Trump coming from his mouth.

        As for driving Iran into the arms of its religious-right extremists, it has been there for decades. The previous time we discussed the country on this site was on the occasion of its imposition of Sharia on Western visitors. And again, there were quotes from Iranian women about how good the forced wearing of headscarves was, and we came to the conclusion that we should think with out heads rather than accept uncritically the “opinions” of people speaking at gunpoint.

        You are quite right that some Iranians must be let in and supported. I hope the USA finds a way to support these Iranians instead of their oppressors.

        1. Disagree. The Nobels are a Swedish institution and people certainly give a damn about their awards. Or the Palme d’Or at Cannes (which is in France, last time I checked). It is not essential for a body to be American-based for it to matter.

          But I repeat, the Academy is NOT the US government, its awards are NOT given by ‘the USA’. To suggest that is ludicrous.


      3. Here is a relevant quote about the “freedom” of opinion Farhadi enjoys:

        “The film’s domestic reception oscillated between national pride and utter contempt. The year before A Separation premiered, Farhadi’s public remarks supporting dissident filmmakers Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Jafar Panahi were taken seriously by the government and officials delayed the film’s production. After revoking his comments and issuing an apology— Farhadi claimed he had been misinterpreted—the government lifted the ban on his film.”

        This time, he may be taking care to have nothing to apologize about.

  7. If there are any late readers around the globe tonight and have not yet heard the news of the day, please let me tell you.

    Sessions, the new Attorney General, had meets with the Russians way back during the republican convention. At a time when the Russian influence was going full tilt. He did not reveal, did not disclose any of this during confirmation hearings. So now…should he investigate any of this scandal considering he is likely part of the scandal?? Should he resign. He was asked, during the hearings if he or anyone had met with the Russians, what would he do. He said he had not met with them and had no knowledge of anyone else meeting with them.

    All I can say is – holy shit.

Leave a Reply