Kuwaiti Instagram star blasts new law allowing servants to keep passports
A Kuwaiti beauty blogger is facing fierce criticism over her condemnation of new laws which improve the working conditions of her Filipino maid.
Makeup artist Sondos Alqattan revealed her anger in a video shared with her 2.3 million followers on Instagram. In it, she bemoaned the fact that her “servants” will now be allowed to keep their passports, take breaks every five hours and have one day off per week.
Maybe you should eat some make up so you can be pretty on the inside too. #sondosalqattan— mariemeinstead (@mariemeinstead) July 20, 2018
@sondosalqattan I used to like you because i think u are an amazing woman, but what you said about Filipino domestic helper is below the belt, you are nothing but a pretty face, rotten from the inside..— Kris Aganon (@AganonKris) July 19, 2018
READ MORE: Kuwait hangs royal family member in mass execution
"How can one keep a maid at home and not keep her passport? If she takes off or leaves one day, who will compensate me?,” she asked, referencing the money some employers pay to fly workers to Kuwait. “Honestly I disagree with this law. I don’t want a Filipino maid any more.”
Sondos remained unapologetic for the remarks on Monday, posting a statement to the social media platform claiming that she treats her employees fairly and and doesn’t “impose long working hours.” However, she reiterated her belief that workers should not be allowed keep their passports.
boycotting an influencer. anybody who thinks keeping their employee's passport is their right and anybody who believes a working person does not deserve at least one day off, is out of touch with humanity #SondosAlqattan#slavery— Pam for the Glam (@pamfortheglam) July 20, 2018
The comments sparked a furious backlash online and among the blogger’s fans in the Middle East and Philippines, with many likening her treatment of employees to modern-day slavery.
Several beauty brands have now cut ties with with the Instagram ‘influencer’ with Max Factor Arabia announcing that it would suspend all future work with the make-up artist.
The Kuwaiti beauty blogger @Sondos_q who criticised new laws giving Filipino maids a day off appears in a new video & doubles down on everything she said: “They don’t need a day off EVERY week”! pic.twitter.com/b1h1dVsIr9— Abdirahim Saeed (@AbdirahimS) July 23, 2018
The only thing worse than a lousy apology, is a lousy apology riddled with grammatical errors. #sondosalqattanpic.twitter.com/KMXxT1jaI3— Asma I. AbdulMalik (@AsmaIMalik) July 24, 2018
Critics are still reaching out to several other beauty brands on social media and urging them to dissociate themselves from the beauty blogger, including MAC, Shishido, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Etudes House.
I am calling out @ShiseidoUSA@phyto_usa@Bellacontacts@HP@ABHcosmetics and any other brands associated with Ms. Alqattan. How does it feel having someone like, Sondos Alqattan who literally supports Modern Day Slavery, represent you?— Gelo Carter (@GeloCarter) July 21, 2018
Loved @ABHcosmetics but until they do something about the hateful, racist, and deragatory comments made by Sondos Alqattan, then I refuse to purchase any of their products. They would be enabling modern day slavery. Domestic workers are PEOPLE NOT SLAVES.— Alexis Nicole (@alexisnicolecg) July 20, 2018
READ MORE: Man arrested on suspicion of murdering Filipina maid & storing body in freezer
Reforms to protect the rights of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait were introduced in May after months of tense negotiations between the two countries. More than 250,000 Filipinos live in the Gulf country, of which at least 60 percent are domestic workers who live and work in their employers’ homes.
The push to improve domestic workers rights turned a corner when the Philippines issued a temporary ban on workers travelling to Kuwait after 29-year-old Joanna Demafelis was found stuffed inside the fridge of her Lebanese employers. The perpetrators have since been sentenced to death.
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