Last week, Kuwaiti makeup artist and influencer Sondos Alqattan received backlash for her now-deleted video, where she publicly questioned the terms included in the OFW protection deal between Kuwait and the Philippines. She was quoted defending an employer's right to keep an employee's passport and expressing her disagreement toward Filipino workers having a day off once a week.
After drawing flak on social media, it took a week before Sondos finally responded with a statement on her Instagram. "Don’t judge a person without full understanding of the situation," the caption reads. "Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean that you’re right!"
In the statement itself, Sondos did not issue an apology but instead attempted to clarify what she said in the viral video. Regarding her view on passports, she writes, "The passport of any expat employee should be in the possession of the employer to protect the employers interest [sic]."
Defending her point about not allowing days off, she points out that employees who work in business and those who work in their employer's home are different. She adds that many employers don't allow their household workers days off anyway despite it being required in the contract, but doesn't expound nor question the practice.
From there, she denies ever mistreating or degrading anyone she has employed, stating that she imposes reasonable and flexible working hours, while resting hours are "never long and flexible." "I consider all employees as equal human being with equal rights to that of mine [sic]," she says.
In the latter part of her response, Sondos thanks the people who gave her flak for the viral video but complimented her appearance—"[I] assure you that only when you meet me up close and personal that you can make a personal judgment about me as a human being or a person." She concludes by saying that one's opinion on the issue does not say anything about them as a person, then directs everyone to ask the workers themselves about the issue for clarity.
Read her statement in full below:
Since the incident, some of Sondos' sponsors have already decided to cut ties with her, including Phyto, Shiseido, and Max Factor Arabia. The aforementioned brand also issued a statement to The National: "Max Factor Arabia was shocked by the comments made by the influencer Sondos Al Qattan. Sondos’ comments are personal and do not represent either the values or the principles that Max Factor Arabia stands for. Max Factor stands for women's empowerment and supporting every woman to express her individuality, irrespective of ethnicity and occupation. Max Factor Arabia is taking this incident very seriously and have immediately suspended all collaborations with Sondos."
Meanwhile, Sondos' Twitter, where the controversial video was originally uploaded, is now set to private.