Beauty brands ban Kuwaiti blogger over comments on Filipino maids

Leroy Wright
July 28, 2018

In statements published on their Instagram accounts, Max Factor Arabia and Phyto USA said they were cutting ties with Sondos al-Qattan after she said new laws concerning the rights of Filipino domestic workers were "like a pathetic film".

"All I said was that the employer was entitled to keep the servant's passport, and that many Kuwaitis and Gulf nationals agree with me", said Qattan.

Sondos al-Qattan, who has 2.3 million followers on Instagram, was heavily criticised on social media after she posted a video on July 10 in which she attacked measures introduced in May that grant Filipinas working in Kuwait one day off per week and prevent employers from keeping their passports.

She added that "irrelevant" of the employee/employer's nationality, the "passport of any expat employee should be in the possession of the employer to protect the employer's interest". "I consider all employees as equal human being [sic]".

Three worldwide brands, including Max Factor, have cut ties with Alqattan amid calls for a global boycott of the businesses linked to her, the Gulf News has reported. The brand distanced itself from the star labelling her "views are her own" and said "we wish to make it clear we do not support the beliefs recently expressed by her". "I would never show my face in this world again, out of fear that you might find me and that you might ask me to work for you again", Al Ameri said.

A spokesman for French perfume brand M.Micallef said his company was "shocked" by Alqattan's comments and would end their relationship. The group is calling on the social media star to publicly apologise for her demeaning comments.

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Russian Federation and the United States have a stake in that, the whole word has a stake in that, in not starting an arms race. The pair met last week for closed-door talks in Helsinki. "We are not going to comment further on security procedures".

Workers in many Gulf states are employed under a sponsorship system that gives employers the right to keep their passports and exercise full control over their stay.

With Migrante International, a Filipino advocacy group, likening Alqattan's comments to that of a "slave owner" with an outlook "that literally belongs to the dark ages".

The law also requires that maids have one day off a week, and be given by their employee an annual holiday of 22 days.

Khalid also told the Kuwaiti blogger that there is a reason why household helpers would leave her.

The new protections given to Filipino domestic staff are part of a labour deal the Philippine government and Kuwait signed in may after a row following a series of abuse cases.

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center also urged other countries that send domestic workers to Kuwait to also include al-Qattan in their list of undesirable employers.

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