In the wake of her controversial comments on the rights of Filipino domestic workers, several beauty brands have vowed to stop working with Sondos Alqattan. The Kuwaiti influencer has come under fire this week for her video criticizing the Gulf nation’s labor law, in which she questioned a worker’s right to retain their passport.
“For her [domestic worker] to take a 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,” said Alqattan in the now-deleted video, Gulf Business reports. “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.”
Following public backlash over her comments, MAC Cosmetics has revealed it has suspended all partnerships with the beauty influencer. The cosmetics giant stated it does not “have any partnerships with her and will no longer be working with her on any brand activities”, The National reports, adding that Alqattan’s “views are her own” and MAC does “not support the beliefs recently expressed by her”. French haircare brand Phyto also stated it was ending its partnership with the blogger “immediately”, posting on Instagram: “We do not tolerate any kind of racism and abuse. We take our brand’s values very seriously and will not support such behavior or have it associated with our products.”
Anastasia Beverly Hills followed suit, stating on Instagram the brand was “deeply disappointed” by Alqattan’s remarks. “These comments [completely] contradict the core values of Anastasia Beverly Hills and we have not and never will condone any hateful, discriminatory views,” the cosmetics company said. Japanese brand Shiseido has also cut ties with the influencer, with a spokesperson telling Vogue Arabia “we have decided to stop the relationship as we don’t support neither align with the recent statements she made.”
Earlier in the week, Max Factor revealed it was “shocked by the comments made”. “Max Factor Arabia is taking this incident very seriously and have immediately suspended all collaborations with Sondos,” a spokesperson told Gulf News on Monday. Perfume brand M. Micallef and London makeup company Chelsea Beautique also announced they would no longer be working with the influencer.
Alqattan’s comments centered around new regulations unveiled in May, as Kuwait and the Philippines inked a deal allowing Filipino workers in the Middle Eastern nation new rights. The reforms saw domestic workers given the ability to retain their passports and cell phones, as well as take one day off per week. Alqattan later stood by her belief that “I have the right as a kafil [sponsor] to keep my employee’s passport”, telling AFP she was “responsible for paying a deposit of up to KWD 1,500 (SAR/AED 18,200 )”. “The servant lives in the house just like the owners, he eats the same food, sleeps, rests and goes out shopping… this is a natural right. He’s not like a waiter who works fixed hours, so we give him a weekly leave,” she added. Migrante Home Office, a group that defends the rights of overseas Filipino workers, has demanded a public apology from Alqattan.
The blogger’s comments came just months after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte temporarily banned the nation’s workers from traveling to Kuwait, following the murder of a Filipino maid in the Gulf nation. According to Arabian Business, there are currently more than 250,000 Filipinos in Kuwait, at least 60 per cent of which are domestic workers.