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This Kuwaiti MUA Has Been Dropped By Brands After Saying Domestic Workers Shouldn't Get Time Off

Sondos al-Qattan went viral for her offensive remarks, then doubled down, then started getting dropped by brands.

Posted on July 27, 2018, at 12:14 p.m. ET

Kuwaiti Instagram star went viral last week after she said that domestic workers in her country shouldn't get days off.


In a video posted online, now deleted but still available on YouTube and Twitter, she said: "Even worse is that they get a day off every single week! What's left?"

Al-Qattan was referencing laws introduced last year that aimed to provide some protections for domestic help employees who work in the Persian Gulf region's notorious Kafala system, whereby employers routinely confiscate a worker's passport.

In 2015, workers in Kuwait were finally given some protections, with the country's national assembly passing a law requiring employers to give them one day off a week, 30 days of annual paid leave, and other basic employment rights, according to a Human Rights Watch report from the same year. In 2016 and 2017, the government passed legislation attempting to ensure a basic minimum wage for household workers. The most recent HRW report on Kuwait noted, "Migrant workers remain vulnerable to abuse, forced labor, and deportation for minor infractions including traffic violations and 'absconding' from an employer."

In Kuwait, there are an estimated 600,000 domestic workers — mostly women from Asian or African nations and often from the Philippines. These workers are often abused. According to a monitoring group, roughly 120 Filipino workers died last year, with the majority recorded as suicides.

Al-Qattan has more than 2.3 million Instagram followers and posts mainly about makeup.

People were enraged and called for brands to stop working with her.

Alamira Alonto / Twitter

Then, after her comments went viral and caused a huge backlash, she doubled down.

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”!

Al-Qattan said she was pleased that her video had gone viral because "maybe that will help her as an employer get more rights."

Now, exactly as people have called for it to happen, international brands have started to drop her.

Gina Taan / Twitter

Mac, Shiseido, Etude House, Max Factor, and M. Micallef have all announced that they will no longer be working with her.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Mac said the company currently does not have any partnerships with her and would no longer be working with her on any brand activities.

"Sondos Alqattan’s views are her own. We wish to make it clear that we do not support the beliefs recently expressed by her," a spokesperson said via email.

"M·A·C embraces diversity and individuality. We are committed to our fans and employees around the world. As a brand, we strive to align ourselves with partners that share our core values and in no way tolerate excluding anyone."

The latest brand to part ways with her is Phyto, which she was promoting only last month.

BuzzFeed News contacted al-Qattan, Shiseido, Etude House, MaxFactor, and M. Micallef for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.