Sondos Alqattan described a new law giving domestic staff one day off a week as “pathetic”.
A Kuwaiti social media star is facing a growing backlash after she posted a video complaining about new protections given to Filipino domestic workers.
Sondos Alqattan, a makeup artist and beauty blogger with 2.3 million Instagram followers, described the changes to Kuwait’s sponsorship system as “pathetic”.
In May, Kuwait and the Philippines signed a deal granting Filipino domestic workers in the country one day off per week, the ability to hold onto their passports, and other basic employment rights, following a series of abuses.
“The new laws that have been passed are pathetic. Honestly, I disagree,” Alqattan said in the video, which has since been deleted from her account.
“For [a maid] to take one day off every week, that’s four days a month. Those are the days that she’ll be out. And we don’t know what she’ll be doing on those days, with her passport on her.”
She continued: “How can you have a servant at home who gets to keep their passport with them? If they ran away and went back to their country, who’ll refund me? I don’t want a Filipino maid anymore.”
Many took to social media to condemn Alqattan’s comments, including Emirati social commentator Khalid Al Ameri, who shared an impassioned response to Alqattan’s rant.
“Hate is a very strong word – a word that I do not use that often,” he said. “But one of the few times that I do use it is for people who disagree with someone’s human rights, based on where they’re from, what they look like, or what they believe in.”
He went on to thank “every single domestic worker in this part of the world for helping us and for being part of our families.”
The Migrante Home Office, an organisation which supports the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), called on Alqattan to apologise.
“We strongly demand that she offer public apology and genuinely express remorse for her disgusting statements,” the group said in a statement.
“It would also be more valuable to her if she can visit the Philippines to witness for herself the appalling poverty that grips many Filipino families and find out what hardships OFWs had to go through in government agencies before they can finally be deployed abroad.”
Alqattan has yet to respond to the criticism. Her latest Instagram post, shared on Saturday, features a product which is used to treat dry hair.