Makeup artist and beauty influencer, Sondos Alqattan recently came under fire for her comments regarding Kuwait’s newly reformed laws to improve conditions for Filipino domestic workers. Under the new regulations, workers are allowed one day off a week, and are able to keep their passports with them.
Alqattan, who views her ‘servants’ as property, was so displeased that she decided to take a brief moment from the seat of her luxury car to film her outrage.
“How can you have a servant in your house who gets to keep their passport with them?” she questions. “If they ran away and went back to their country, who’ll refund me? I disagree with this law,” she said, expressing her disdain for basic human rights.
“And what’s worse is they have one day off every week. To be honest, with this new law and these new contracts, I do not wish to hire a Filipina. She goes out one day a week and works for six days which brings her total days out to four a month and one has no clue what happens during those four days when her passport is in her possession.” Boy, oh boy. This is a lot to unpack.
First off, decent human beings were outraged.
Until the Middle East realizes that the treatment of our domestic workers & housekeepers is one step up from slavery, we will never progress
— Ascia (@ascia) April 1, 2017
The privileged have no sense of morality or welfare when it comes to workers, Sondos sweetie mind your business and focus on your now dwindling social media status https://t.co/2ZuYQrGz14
— Seebs (@SeebaBeebaaa) July 19, 2018
OFW workers aren’t anyone’s property. They have their rights to keep their passports and have a day off. I watched many documentaries on Filipino OFW workers that they are being abused and murdered. #StopSlavery #SondosAlQattan
— Jehan Masood (@jehan_masood) July 23, 2018
Some called out brands to terminate their relationships with her (at the time of writing, Alqattan had 2.3 million Instagram followers).
— Masuda Mimi (@MasudaMimi) July 20, 2018
Luckily MAC, Chelsea Boutique and Max Factor listened, stating that they no longer will be working with the influencer. But just when you thought nothing worse could possibly come out of Alqattan’s mouth, according to Arabian Business, she asked her followers to boycott any brand who severs ties with her.
And apologies? Never. Instead, the beauty blogger played the victim, calling the criticism an attack on Islam. As per The Independent, Alqattan called it a “‘foreign media campaign’ designed to attack Islam, the hijab, Kuwait and the wider Gulf region. ‘Of course I did not have to offer any apology, because I was telling the truth.'”
Unfortunately, what Alqattan failed to notice was that many of her detractors were also Muslim.
Last update from me on this story: Sondos now suggests controversy about her maid comments is a conspiracy. Claims she’s been criticised coz of her hijab. Intended targets are Kuwait, Islam & Arabs. Ignores fact first of her critics were also Kuwaitis, other Arabs & Muslims! pic.twitter.com/euKDsss84w
— Abdirahim Saeed (@AbdirahimS) July 25, 2018
Continuing to dig her own grave, she posted a photo of herself with the caption, “Do what’s right and don’t do what’s trending!” on Instagram. Comments are, of course, disabled. “Okay, let’s just close the issue because it’s not even important,” she also stated an a follow-up video. “There are more important things to think about, like Botox.”
And while the topic of Botox is always compelling, perhaps the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery is something we shouldn’t make light of. Kuwait’s domestic worker treatment reform comes after a Filipina maid was found dead in a freezer at an abandoned apartment owned by the couple who had hired her.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) sent a whopping $28.1 billion back to the Philippines in 2017. More than 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many to better the lives of their families. These workers often sacrifice their lives (figuratively and literally) in order to escape poverty, but most of all, to be able to send a portion of their salaries back home to the people they care about. This money goes towards medical bills, schooling and generally improving their family’s quality of living. Being upset over law amendments that better the working conditions of migrant workers (which allows them to have cell phones, one day off a week and ownership of their passports) is the ugliest look of all.