A U.S. Embassy spokesman apologized Friday to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for being detained for an hour and a half by Homeland Security agents at a New York airport.
Khan landed at the airport in White Plains, New York, on Thursday en route to deliver a lecture at Yale University when he was stopped. Sources told PTI, while everybody else were cleared by the immigration immediately, Khan was stopped for over two hours before being cleared by the immigration officials.
“Khan was very very upset at the episode. Yale University officials had to contact the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Department at Washington, when they come to know about his detention,” sources tell Ibnlive.in.com.
“Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself, I always make a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom,” Khan said at the lecture at Yale, which was delayed for several hours. (Video above.)
“They always ask me how tall I am and I always like and get away [with it] and say 5’10”, Khan told the audience at Yale. But he says next time he’s going to be more adventurous when they ask him ‘what color’ he is.
“I’m going to say, white,” Khan said jokingly.
According to the AP, U.S. Embassy spokesman Peter Vrooman apologized “for any inconvenience that Mr. Shah Rukh Khan may have experienced.”
This is the second time Khan has been detained by Homeland Security in the U.S. Khan was stopped for two hours at Newark airport in 2009—the same year he was declared amongst the 500 most influential Muslims worldwide by Georgetown University.
“Khan’s incident might be gaining international attention because he is a celebrity, but the truth is that ordinary American citizens and immigrants here in the United States grapple with racial and religious profiling routinely at airports,” Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, wrote for Colorlines.com in 2009. Read her story “Shah Rukh Khan: Bollywood Border Stop” because it still holds true three years later.
Lastly, if all of this is making you angry, take a break and watch “The Daily Show’s” Aasif Mandvi take on Khan’s Newark airport stop controversy in 2009.