Local Social Media Stars Respond to Kuwaiti Influencer Controversy
Having faced widespread criticism for an Instagram video in which she attacked new legal measures that give Filipinas working in Kuwait one day off a week (and prevent employers from keeping their passports), this week Sondos Al Qattan has seen both her influencer marketing livelihood take a serious hit and suffered the backlash from fellow regional influencers.
Rather than apologizing for her prior comments, Qattan has actually taken to further defending them, telling AFP that she believes the outcry is “unjustified” and that they do “not concern humanity or human rights because I did not deprive the employee of her salary of beat her.”
In fact, in the last 24 hours she has gone one step further, stating that the “foreign media campaign” against her is an attack on Islam, the Hijab and Kuwait.
So what do regional content creators think?
Her Royal Highness Sheikha Noora (@sh.n.alkhalifa), Royal Princess from The Kingdom of Bahrain, recently weighed in on the social media furore.
"Let's stand up for equality, justice, and human dignity. If I have a long week, I just want a one-day break end of the week to get my energy back," she said to ITP Live exclusively.
"I think my personal helper at home needs to have a day off. I really don’t understand how some people think." - Her Royal Highness Sheikha Noora, Royal Princess from The Kingdom of Bahrain
"I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion and I fully respect it. I have help, and we are blessed in this part of the world to be able to have that and we owe so much to them," Kiwan said.
"Be it taking care of our children when we are at work, house duties, cooking and so much more."
"Where I come from [helpers] are part of our family, and deserve so much more than counting the number of rest hours or days off." - Enjy Kiwan, Social Media Influencer
Travel and foodie enthusiast Talal Al Rashed (@talal.alrashed) took a more hard-line approach.
"This debate is healthy, and it shows how people are different when it comes to human rights and labour laws, and how some need some enlightenment," Al Rashed said.
"I suggest Sondos tries working full-time in the service industry, say in a restaurant, a hotel or even at her own house, for one year, but without taking a weekly day off. I’d be curious to know her opinion after such an experience, I’m sure it will be slightly different."
"I suggest Sondos tries working full-time in the service industry, say in a restaurant, a hotel or even at her own house, for one year, but without taking a weekly day off."
Finally, gaming superstar Ahmad Nasheet (@dvlzgame) said "Social media is a powerful tool it gives you a space or a platform for you to speak your mind but you have to be aware of the society, the region, the culture but most of all know that you will have fans and haters who will use whatever you say for you or against you so be smart."
And how do her brand partners feel?
Unsurprisingly, not good.
A number of the high-profile names Qattan partners have found the remarks particularly distasteful. In the past few days, they've been distancing themselves from the social media star.
French perfume brand M. Micalle have joined Chelsea Boutique, Phyto, MAC Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Max Factor Arabia all in cutting ties with the influencer in the past few days.
“Max Factor Arabia was shocked by the comments made,” a spokesperson told Gulf News. “Max Factor Arabia is taking this incident very seriously and have immediately suspended all collaborations with Sondos.”
So, what's next for Sondos? Is there any redemption?
What do you think of her comments? Let us know in the comments below.