Instagram model Sondos Alqattan posted a video on July 10 criticizing new laws passed by Kuwait to protect domestic workers. The laws, passed in May, give workers “a day off per week and [prevents] employers from taking their passports.”
Alqattan comments in the video:
How can you have a servant at home who keeps their own passport with them? What’s worse is they have one day off every week.
Maybe you should eat some make up so you can be pretty on the inside too. #sondosalqattan— mariemeinstead (@mariemeinstead) July 20, 2018
She went on:
If they run away and go back to their country, who will refund me? Honestly, I disagree with this law. I don’t want a Filipino maid anymore.
This is Sondos Alqattan, the face of a modern day master of slaves. She believes Filipino domestic helpers should not be given days off nor have possession of their own passports.#sondosalqattan#StopSlaveryhttps://t.co/6KlzedrTsR— Sometimes (@TalkativeAko) July 21, 2018
The video has sparked intense backlash from almost everywhere, including a statement from Migrante International, which advocates for Filipino workers worldwide:
By projecting herself as a slave-owner, Sondos exhibits intoxication in her overinflated ego and false sense of superiority.
@sondosalqattan I used to like you because i think u are an amazing woman, but what you said about Filipino domestic helper is below the belt, you are nothing but a pretty face, rotten from the inside..— Kris Aganon (@AganonKris) July 19, 2018
boycotting an influencer. anybody who thinks keeping their employee's passport is their right and anybody who believes a working person does not deserve at least one day off, is out of touch with humanity #SondosAlqattan #slavery— Pam for the Glam (@pamfortheglam) July 20, 2018
Migrante International added that Alqattan’s views “cling to a backward outlook which literally belongs to the dark ages.”
The model is not backing down, however. She posted a response to the controversy on Instagram, standing by her comments and defending her warped point of view:
And is apparently blocking her detractors on Twitter.
She saw my tweet and blocked me LMFAO! Sondos Alqattan , if you believe in Allah and Islam as you pretend to do, you would never think of another human as less than you. Allah’s watching. Your shitty social media fame won’t last pic.twitter.com/XE8dNXcM2M— Masuda Mimi (@MasudaMimi) July 21, 2018
Brands are quickly cutting ties with Alqattan. Max Brand Arabia commented in a statement:
Max Factor Arabia is taking this incident very seriously and have immediately suspended all collaborations with Sondos.
Breaking: Cosmetics giant Max Factor has suspended all work with Sondos Alqattan, following her criticism of recently introduced laws giving Filipino workers a day off each week and banning employers from holding their passports.— Ed Clowes ادوارد كلاوس (@EdClowes) July 23, 2018
Read their full statement to Gulf News here: pic.twitter.com/LksyDtezlF
I am calling out @ShiseidoUSA @phyto_usa @Bellacontacts @HP @ABHcosmetics and any other brands associated with Ms. Alqattan. How does it feel having someone like, Sondos Alqattan who literally supports Modern Day Slavery, represent you?— Gelo Carter (@GeloCarter) July 21, 2018
So no word from #sondosalqattan sponsors #SHISEIDO, #EtudeHouse, #PhytoParis, #Lierac Paris & #Bella contact lenses to denounce her statements on slavery? Silence is another way of Tolerance!!!!!— ArciBordz (@TheBordetz) July 23, 2018
BOYCOTT THEM!!!!! #notoslavery
Let our voice be heard!!!
Similarly, French perfume brand M. Micallef said it “deeply regretted” its relationship with Alqattan and would be “terminating with immediate effect.” Chelsea Beautique even went so far as to delete any videos featuring the model from their YouTube channel.
For years, Filipinos have looked at @SHISEIDO_corp as the holy grail for (to put it nicely) skin products, BUT if you don’t do anything about Sondos Alqattan, you promote a platform for slavery. You already told us our dark skin is ugly... you’re gonna tell us we’re slaves too? pic.twitter.com/GqsMEL5HoR— Alexis Nicole (@alexisnicolecg) July 21, 2018
Loved @ABHcosmetics but until they do something about the hateful, racist, and deragatory comments made by Sondos Alqattan, then I refuse to purchase any of their products. They would be enabling modern day slavery. Domestic workers are PEOPLE NOT SLAVES.— Alexis Nicole (@alexisnicolecg) July 20, 2018
The new laws were put in place as part of an agreement between Kuwait and the Philippines to ensure basic workers rights like one day off per week and providing them with “food, clothing, health insurance.” Since around 660,000 of Kuwait’s 4 million people are “domestic migrant workers,” it’s important they’re protected by people and/or Instagram Models who might like to take advantage of them.
I just read the article about @Sondos_q and her outrage over laws changing in Kuwait that allows her maid to have 1 day a week off and access to her own passport. The fact that those laws were even there in the first place is disgusting. Slavery still exists and it’s disgusting— Jamie Perkins (@JamieAndNiks) July 24, 2018
It’s good to know that intolerance has consequences, even for the wealthy and famous.