Instagram Star Won’t Give Her ‘SERVANTS’ A Day Off?!
Instagram star Sondos Alqattan from Kuwait has generated anger online after recording a video critical of the country’s new laws guaranteeing one day off a week for migrant domestic workers.
An Instagram star from Kuwait has generated anger online after recording a video critical of the country’s new laws for domestic workers.
Makeup artist Sondos Alqattan is a mega-star in Kuwait. She has over 2.3 million followers on Instagram, and typically, her account is mostly makeup tutorials and other photos.
But a new law in Kuwait which guaranteed migrant workers one day off per week and the right to maintain their passports inspired her to post something different. The since deleted video shows Alqattan criticizing the law, arguing that her servants might flee back to the Philippines if they’re allowed to keep their passports.
She said because of this, and that she’d be required to give them one day off every week, she’ll no longer employ Filipino workers.
To give you a little bit of background, Kuwait is a popular destination for people from the Philippines looking for a better life. About 1/6th of Kuwait’s total population of 4 million people are migrant workers, including 250,000 Filipinos.
But tensions have arisen between the groups so far in 2018.
In March, the mutilated body of a Filipina worker was discovered inside a freezer in an abandoned home, and in April, a video went viral of a migrant worker escaping from an apparently abusive home in Kuwait. Rodrigo Duterte, the controversial president of the Philippines, even temporarily banned workers from traveling to Kuwait.
Groups like Human Rights Watch have long-promoted better labor conditions for migrant workers. And these new laws guaranteeing time off and the ability to leave the country should make things better for them.
At the very least, it will allow workers to flee abusive employers and return to the Philippines if that’s what they choose. Which is what makes Alqattan saying that someone should “reimburse” her if an employee leaves Kuwait sound much more like a slave-holder than an employer in 2018.
And the backlash against her on social media has been furious and swift.
One comment reads: “All human beings deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity. Shame on you for thinking you are better than other people just because you have money. I hope no one ever comes to your household for employment. Let’s see how you manage cleaning after yourself and then tell us again that maids don’t deserve a break. Shame on you!” Many online are asking companies like MAC and Shiseido to drop Alqattan as a brand ambassador with the hashtag #boycottsandosalqattan
At least a few brands have already started to respond. Max Factor Arabia, Micallef Perfume and Chelsea Boutique have all fired Alqattan.
In a response to the backlash, Alqattan seemed to double-down on her position. She argues that it should be her right to maintain a migrant worker’s passport, and that she has never mistreated or degraded an employee. That didn’t help. She’s now being called an “unapologetic bitch” and a “modern day master of slaves.”
Her only Instagram since the non-apology is a promotional photo for Al Jazeera Perfumes.
What do you guys think? Should brands drop Sondos Alqattan? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.