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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.

YouTube

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 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.

instagram.com

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”! https://t.co/b1h1dVsIr9

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.

instagram.com

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.

instagram.com

In a statement on Instagram, and in response to a customer saying they intended to boycott the brand, Phyto said: "We categorically condemn these remarks as they go against the human values defended by the Group."

"This person speaks on her own behalf and we do not in any way want to endorse her remarks by allowing her name and image to be linked to our brands."

They continued that they had asked their Kuwaiti distributor to stop their relationship with al-Qattan until she withdraws her remarks.

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

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