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Pinoy Abroad

Kuwaiti Instagram star dropped by beauty brands after remarks on Pinoy workers’ rights

Instagram star Sondos Alqattan was dropped by several cosmetic brands following the internet backlash she received after complaining about a new law enabling Filipino domestic workers to have days off and control of their passport.

Gulf News reported that at least three international brands have cut ties with Alqattan days after her comments on the law that sprang from a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the protection of Filipino workers in Kuwait.

The MOU was signed after months of strained relations between the Philippines and Kuwait after the body of domestic worker Joanna Demafelis was discovered in a freezer at the abandoned apartment of her employers.

Lebanese national Nader Essam Assaf, her male employer, and his wife were hunted by police. Assaf was later sentenced to death by a Kuwaiti court after he confessed to killing the 29-year-old Demafelis.

Max Factor Arabia, the Middle East branch of the cosmetic giant, said it was shocked by the comments the beauty guru made about the new labor law and immediately suspended all its collaborations with her.

Prior to this, French perfume brand M. Micallef and London-based Chelsea Beautique severed all its ties with the influencer who has 2.3 million followers on Instagram.

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Several beauty brands that worked with Alqattan and local companies that carry her range of cosmetics have yet to respond to requests for comments.

Pro-OFW group Blas F. Ople Policy Center also condemned Alqattan's remarks and said she personified "the ugly face of modern-day slavery and should be included in the POEA’s blacklist of abusive and undesirable foreign employers."

Alqattan has refused to apologize for her comments and said the backlash against her was "unjustified" and that "many Kuwaitis and Gulf nationals agree" with her opinion that the employer must keep their "servant's" passport. — Rie Takumi/RSJ, GMA News