Last year, the Oscars faced backlash for a lack of diversity in their nominations, leading to #OscarsSoWhite. This year, the nominations are better, but it is the United States that is receiving backlash after banning a foreign filmmaker from entering the country. Only recently, Syrian cinematographer Khaled Khateeb was told that he could not enter the United States to attend the Oscars, where his film "The White Helmets" is nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject. All of this came after Khateeb had already received the necessary visa to enter the country, but then was suddenly denied.

What is "The White Helmets"?

Originally released September 16, 2016, "The White Helmets" is a Netflix documentary about the group of volunteer first responders that continuously risk their lives for the peoples of Syria and Turkey.

The White Helmets are a Syrian civil defense group that was founded in 2012 after the Syrian military launched an air force attack on its civilians. The documentary, which was directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject and has already won the Audience Award and IDA Award for Best Short Film. In 2016, the film was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

What's the problem?

Just days before the Oscars, Syrian cinematographer Khaled Khateeb has been banned from entering the United States, meaning that he will not be able to attend the Oscars in support and recognition of "The White Helmets."

Khateeb, who is 21, was barred from entering the United States by the Department of Homeland Security due to "derogatory information." This could span anywhere from terror connections to any passport irregularities.

This is problematic, considering that Khateeb had already acquired the necessary visa, but then was suddenly told he needed a passport waiver, which he would not receive.

What's the backlash so far?

Plenty of people have been predicting that many of the speeches and presenters will be focusing on political issues, though that type of backlash directed at President Trump didn't wait until then.

Already, a rally featuring several prominent actors has taken place, and that's just the beginning. Recently, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, whose film "The Salesman" is nominated for an award, released a statement alongside the directors of the four other foreign language films.

The statement criticized the United States' "climate of fanaticism and nationalism" and said the following: "The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on...

These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different."

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