A Kuwaiti social media vlogger has remained unapologetic and doubled down on her criticism over a new law to give domestic workers more rights in the Gulf kingdom.
Sondos al-Qattan faced a worldwide backlash after she condemned the Kuwaiti government’s plans to give domestic workers one day off.
Qattan, who became famous for her online YouTube make-up tutorials, said she was not sorry and described the outcry against her comments as “unjustified”.
“The passport of any expat employee should be in the possession of the employer to protect the employer’s interest,” Qattan wrote on her Instagram page which has 2.3 million followers.
“All I said was that the employer was entitled to keep the servant’s passport and that many Kuwaitis and Gulf nationals agree with me.”
She added: “The servant’s lives in the house just like the owners, he eats the same food, 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.”
Since making her controversial comments, Qattan has deleted the clip, and been dropped by three international brands who sponsor the Kuwaiti social media figure.
Among the brands who dropped her include Maxfactor, London-based Chelsea Beautique, and French perfume brand M. Micallef.
“Maxfactor Arabia was shocked by the comments made…regarding the new labour law in Kuwait,” a spokesperson told the Gulf News.
“We are taking this incident very seriously and have immediately suspended all collaborations with Sondos.”
Qattan’s comments come at a sensitive for the Gulf kingdom which has just restored relations with the Philippines after the Filipino government broke ties with Kuwait over its treatment of domestic workers.
Manila instigated its ban on Filipino workers going to the Gulf after one of its maids was killed and found dead in a freezer inside Kuwait.
The crisis was compounded further after Kuwaiti authorities expelled the Filipino ambassador following video footage of Philippine embassy staff helping abused workers escape their employers.[source: Middle East Eye]