Beauty brands sever ties with Kuwaiti blogger over remarks on Filipino domestic workers

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Beauty brands sever ties with Kuwaiti blogger Sondos Al-Qattan over remarks on Filipino maids. (Screengrab from YouTube)
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Beauty brands sever ties with Kuwaiti blogger Sondos Al-Qattan over remarks on Filipino maids. (Photo courtesy of Instagram @sondos_aq)
Updated 24 July 2018

Beauty brands sever ties with Kuwaiti blogger over remarks on Filipino domestic workers

CAIRO: Two international domestic brands have reportedly cut off their ties with a Kuwaiti Instagram star who said she was upset Filipino domestic workers in her country were getting a couple days off a month.
Sondo Al-Qattan faces criticism for a video posted on July 10 to Instagram in which she attacked measures introduced in May that grant Filipinos working in the oil-rich Gulf state one day off per week and prevent employers from keeping their passports.
Al-Qattan, known for her Internet make-up tutorials, told AFP by phone that the outcry was “unjustified” and did not require an apology.
Apparently, French perfume brand M. Micallef and London-based Chelsea Beautique that feature the beauty blogger have decided to sever ties with her after her comments sparked outrage on social media.
A spokesperson for M. Micallef told Gulf News in an email the company “deeply regret the relationship with her” and that it is is being terminated “with immediate effect.”
Cosmetics brand Chelsea Beautique also said in a statement that they had decided to remove a video featuring Al-Qattan from their channels.
Al-Qattan, who has 2.3 million followers on Instagram, faced huge backlash for criticizing Kuwait’s new labor law.
“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,” said Al-Qattan.
“I have the right as a kafil (sponsor) to keep my employee’s passport, and I am responsible for paying a deposit of up to 1,500 dinars (around $4,900),” she said.
Al-Qattan insisted the practices are not an “insult to the employee, and do not concern humanity or human rights because I did not deprive the employee of her salary or beat her.”
“The servant lives in the house just like the owners, he eats the same food, sleeps, 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,” she added.
Qattan’s comments in the now deleted clip sparked outrage on social media, with many Twitter and Instagram users calling on brands that work with the makeup artist to sever ties.
Migrante International, an advocacy outfit for Filipinos working overseas, called on Qattan to apologize and likened her comments to those of “a slave owner.”
On May 11, Kuwait and Manila signed an agreement regulating domestic labor, following a diplomatic crisis that led to a ban on Filipino workers going to work in the Gulf country.
In February, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a partial ban on workers traveling to Kuwait after a Filipino maid was murdered and her body found in a freezer.
The crisis deepened after Kuwaiti authorities in April expelled Manila’s ambassador over video footage of Philippine embassy staff helping workers escape employers accused of mistreatment.


Taj Mahal damaged in deadly India thunderstorm

Updated 31 May 2020

Taj Mahal damaged in deadly India thunderstorm

  • India’s top tourist attraction has been shut since mid-March as part of measures to try and combat the coronavirus pandemic

AGRA, India: A deadly thunderstorm that rolled across parts of northern India damaged sections of the Taj Mahal complex, including the main gate and a railing running below its five lofty domes, officials said Sunday.
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, India’s top tourist attraction has been shut since mid-March as part of measures to try and combat the coronavirus pandemic.
AFP images showed workers assessing the railing of the main mausoleum, after the storm on Friday night battered Agra city in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
“One sandstone railing which was a part of the original structure has been damaged,” Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, said.
“One marble railing which was a later addition, a false ceiling in the tourist holding area and the base stone of the main gate has also been damaged.”
He added there was no damage to the main structure of the monument to love — built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth in 1631.
Local media reports said thunderstorms and lightning on Friday killed at least 13 people in two Uttar Pradesh districts.
Fatal lightning strikes are relatively common during the June-October monsoon season.
Last year, at least 150 people were killed by lightning in August and September in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.