Kuwaiti beauty blogger facing backlash over comments about filipino maids

An Instagram star with 2.3 million followers faces a backlash after saying servants should not be allowed to keep their own passports.

Kuwaiti beauty blogger Sondos Al Qattan also said she was upset maids were allowed four days off a month.

‘One has no clue what happens during those four days when her passport is in her possession,' she said in a video shared on her social media accounts.

Al Qattan posted the video in response to Kuwait's new labour laws, brought in to improve conditions for the country's Filipino domestic workers.

She has been slammed for criticising the laws which will give Filipino workers one day off per week and prevent employers from seizing their passports.

‘These contracts [new laws regarding Filipino workers] are a mere comedy,' she told her followers.

‘How can you have a servant at home who keeps their own passport with them? What's worse is they have one day off every week.'

She also said: ‘If they run away and go back to their country, who will refund me? Honestly I disagree with this law. I don't want a Filipino maid any more.'

Her video went viral in the Middle East and the Philippines, facing a swathe of criticism.

Two major beauty brands who sponsored the social media star have cut their contracts with her as a result.

French perfume brand M. Micallef and London-based Chelsea Beautique have fired the beauty and fashion influencer following the comments she made last Thursday, Gulf News reports.

People have called for other high profile brands that have worked with Al Qattan in the past – including Max Factor and MAC Cosmetics – to cancel any contracts with the Instagram star.

Migrante Home Office, a group supporting the rights of overseas Filipino workers, are among those demanding a public apology from Al Qattan.

It likened Al Qattan's comments to those of ‘a slave owner' and said she was clinging ‘to a backward outlook which literally belongs to the dark ages'.

The Philippines issued a temporary ban on the deployment of overseas foreign workers (OFWs) to Kuwait in February, after the body of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, a 29-year-old Filipino worker, was found mutilated in a freezer in an abandoned apartment.

In April, tensions increased after the Philippine ministry of foreign affairs released a video showing officials rescuing citizens from Kuwaiti employers accused of abuse.

Kuwait later expelled the Philippine ambassador, Renato Villa, as well as withdrawing its own officials from Manila.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asked the estimated 276,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait to return home, appealing to ‘their sense of patriotism' and offering free flights for the 10,000 estimated to have overstayed their visas.

The two countries signed an agreement in May to soothe tensions over labour rights for OFWs, after Philippine authorities demanded that Kuwaiti recruitment offices pay a $10,000 (£7,600) deposit to compensate workers whose salaries were withheld or contracts suddenly terminated.

Roughly 660,000 people out of Kuwait's population of four million are domestic migrant workers.

According to Human Rights Watch, the country's ‘kafala' system, which gives employers extensive powers over migrant workers, often forces them to remain with abusive bosses, while those who flee can be punished and imprisoned.


Related News

Leave a comment...