A number of brands have begun to distance themselves from Kuwaiti social media influencer Sondos Al Qattan amidst growing public outrage regarding comments she made about Filipino domestic workers.
Qattan, who is best known for her online makeup tutorials, has faced a torrent of angry backlash after posting a July 10 video in which she criticised legislation which gives domestic workers one day off each week and forbids their employers from retaining their passports.
Following the initial public outcry, Qattan continued to defend her comments, telling AFP that she believes the outcry is “unjustified” and that they do “not concern humanity or human rights because I did not deprive the employee of her salary of beat her.”
In the face of the public uproar and social media calls to boycott products that have relationships with Qattan, a number of brands have announced that they are cutting ties with her.
“We’ve decided to remove the video sponsored by Sondos on our channels,” Chelsea Boutique, a UK-based cosmetics brand, said on Twitter.
“We believe that decent working conditions should be provided to everyone and such behaviour does not represent our brand’s core beliefs.”
Similarly, Phyto, a US-based manufacturer of plant-based hair care formulas, said in a statement on Twitter that it had instructed its partners in Kuwait to end their relationship with Qattan.
“Obviously, we categorically condemn these remarks because they go against the human values defended by our group, its history and its founder,” the statement noted.
“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 with our brands,” the statement added. “Consequently, we asked our distributor in Kuwait to end his relationship with Ms. Sondos Al Qattan if she does not withdraw her remarks.”
Other brands that have cut ties with Qattan include Max Factor Arabia and French perfume brand M. Micalle.
“Max Factor Arabia was shocked by the comments made,” a spokesperson told Gulf News. “Max Factor Arabia is taking this incident very seriously and have immediately suspended all collaborations with Sondos.”
In a statement posted to her Instagram on Monday night, Qattan made a “responsive clarification” for her remarks following what she termed “spreading rumours”.
In the post, the influencer said that employers should retain expatriate passports to “protect the employer’s interest” regardless of nationality.
Additionally, she claimed that in her case workers are given flexible working hours and that she strives to make sure her employees receive their rights, even if they don’t fulfil their duties.
She ended her post with a comment directed at her detractors.
“I want to take the opportunity to thank all of those who said ‘beautiful from the outside, but not necessarily on the inside’,” she said. “Thank you for stating I am beautiful from the outside, and I assure you that only when you meet me up close and personal that you can make a personal judgement about me as a human being or a person.”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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