Sondos Alqattan has responded to the global backlash – but stopped short of an apology.
The Kuwaiti beauty blogger at the centre of a social media storm is refusing to apologise for her complaints about protections given to Filipino domestic workers.
Sondos Alqattan, a makeup artist and beauty blogger with 2.3 million Instagram followers, caused a global uproar when she posted a video in which she described changes to Kuwait’s sponsorship system as “pathetic”.
The Migrante Home Office, an organisation which supports the rights of overseas Filipino workers, called on Alqattan to publicly apologise.
But the 27-year-old told AFP she believed the backlash was “unjustified”, and her comments did not warrant an apology.
“All I said was that the employer was entitled to keep the servant’s passport, and that many Kuwaitis and Gulf nationals agree with me,” Alqattan said.
In a lengthy post shared to Instagram, Alqattan elaborated: “I have not, on any circumstances in the present or past, have mistreated, degraded, or in any way mistreated any employee of mine. And for that I consider all employees as equal human beings with equal rights to that is of mine [sic].”
In the now-deleted video, Alqattan criticised new measures introduced in May, which granted Filipino domestic workers one day off per week, the ability to hold onto their passports, and other basic employment rights.
“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.”
Several brands have cut ties with Alqattan as a result of the video, including Max Factor Arabia, which said it was “shocked by the comments made”, Gulf News reported. French perfume brand M. Micallef and London-based makeup brand Chelsea Beautique also revealed they would no longer be working with the influencer.