A Kuwaiti Instagram star’s video criticising new laws requiring a day off per week for Filipino domestic workers in the country has provoked a backlash on social media.
Makeup artist Sondos Alqattan, who has 2.3 million followers on Instagram, said in the video: "The new laws that have been passed are like a pathetic film. 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."
Recent reforms in Kuwait allow Filipino domestic workers to take a day off per week, and their employers can no longer confiscate their passports; a move that also drew the ire of Alqattan.
"How can you have a 'servant' at home who keeps their own passport with them?" she asked.
Alqattan's comments have provoked an angry backlash from social media users.
“The workers should be treated with dignity and workers are our brothers and sisters. They are our helpers. We need them; we depend on them for many things that we cannot do for ourselves,” said one user.
“All human beings deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity. Shame on you for thinking you are better than other people just because you have money. I hope no one ever comes to your household for employment. Let's see how you manage cleaning after yourself and then tell us again that maids don't deserve a break. Shame on you!” said another.
Other responses called for brands that work with Alqattan to sever ties with her, with the hashtag #boycottsondosalqattan featuring in several posts.
The reforms in the Gulf country are a response to the fallout between the Philippines and Kuwait after the murder of a Filipina maid, Joanna Demafelis, 29, earlier this year led to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte temporarily banning Filipino workers from travelling to Kuwait.
There are more than 250,000 Filipinos in the Gulf country. At least 60 percent of that figure are domestic workers.
Alqattan has not responded on social media to the comments. Her most recent post in Saturday featured a shampoo product that supposedly treats dry hair.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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