Cosmetic brands drop Kuwaiti celeb after saying Pinays should have no day off

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At least three cosmetic brands have cut their ties with a Kuwaiti social media influencer who said that Filipino household workers should not have a day off.

Major cosmetic brand Max Factor Arabia, make-up company Chelsea Beautique, and French perfume brand M Micallef distanced themselves from Sondos Alqattan, who caused a global uproar after also telling her 2.3 million followers on Instagram that Filipino domestic workers should not be allowed to hold on to their passports.

“How can you have a servant at home who has her passport with her,” Alqattan said. “She will have a day off a week and, of course, you won’t know what happens on these days, while her passport is with her.”

Saying it was “shocked” by Alqattan’s statements, Max Factor said these were her own opinion and did not represent their view. It added that it was suspending its collaboration with the Kuwaiti online celebrity.

Chelsea Boutique said it would remove from all its media channels a video Alqattan had sponsored while M Micallef said it was ending its ties with her.

The Migrante International and the Samahan ng mga DH (Domestic Helpers) sa Gitnang Silangan (SANDIGAN) also demanded that Alqattan issue an apology for her remarks.

Migrante described the Alqattan as having an “overinflated ego” for thinking that Filipino household workers are not entitled to these rights.

“By projecting herself as a slave-owner, Sondos exhibits intoxication in her overinflated ego and false sense of superiority,” said Migrante, an organization that supports progressive Filipino workers.

“We strongly demand that she offer public apology and genuinely express remorse for her disgusting statements,” it added.

The group pointed out that while Alqattan may have already conquered the realm of the social media and has access to information, her opinions show that she remain in the “dark ages”.

She should have been informed that employees, even household workers, have been given rights and deserve to be treated as humans.

“At a time when many all over the world are going online to acquire knowledge and access more information, Sondos should have known by now that workers have rights too and they deserve just and humane treatment from their employers,” Migrante said.

“Instead, Sondos continues to cling to a backward outlook which literally belongs to the dark ages,” it added.

Instead of looking down on Filipino household workers, Migrante said Alqattan should visit the Philippines and see for herself the poverty and hardships experienced by many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that drove them to leave their families behind, in order to provide better lives for their love ones and for themselves.

Migrante said that up to now there are still many Filipinos, in Kuwait and in other countries, who continue to struggle and are being maltreated.

“An apology from Sondos will surely give respite to our offended netizens but what OFWs ultimately long for is the total elimination of the roots of forced migration,” it added.