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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

MAC Cosmetics releases statement denouncing Kuwaiti influencer Sondos Al Qattan

Pressure had been mounting on the cosmetics giant to clarify their position

Kuwaiti influencer Sondos Al Qattan
Kuwaiti influencer Sondos Al Qattan

MAC Cosmetics has broken its silence on under-fire Kuwaiti influencer Sondos Al Qattan by denouncing her recent comments on her country's labour law. The company said it currently does not "have any partnerships with her and will no longer be working with her on any brand activities".

It also said that Al Qattan's "views are her own" and it wants to "make it clear that we do not support the beliefs recently expressed by her".

Al Qattan's negative comments over recent changes to Kuwait's labour law have caused a furore on social media. The new rules mean that Filipino workers are allowed to keep their own passports and have a day off a week.

Hair brand Phyto posted on its Instagram on Tuesday that it was "very surprised and troubled when hearing about the cruel comments made by @sondos_aq".

"We do not tolerate any kind of racism and abuse," the French brand wrote, calling her actions "dreadful". The brand said it has contacted its local distributor in Kuwait and requested that any partnerships were ended "effective immediately", saying that it will "not support such behaviour or have it associated with our products".

During this time, there had been no word from cosmetics giant MAC, although the brand had stopped following her on Instagram. The exact nature of the association between Al Qattan and MAC is unclear, however the make-up brand's products regularly featured in Al Qattan's social media posts.

MAC's latest Instagram posts featured a lot of comments from people inquiring about why the brand had not taken a stand against Al Qattan.

User inaangelo@maccosmetics posted: "How have you seriously not cut ties with @sondos_aq yet?? Is it because you support her statement?"

While edgarlen_23So said: "This brand really represents slavery and racism ok @maccosmetics maybe SONDOS AL QATTAN is much important than your Filipino consumer".

The comments on all recent pictures run on in the same vein. ugochi__: "YOU NEED TO CUT TIES WITH THE BIGOTED WOMAN @maccosmetics"

Max Factor quickly disassociated itself from Al Qattan, telling The National it was shocked by her comments and has suspended all collaboration with her. Shiseido gave a statement saying it did not support or align with the comments made.

On Monday, Al Qattan posted a statement on her Instagram account calling the backlash "rumours", and saying that she treated all her employees fairly, saying that she doesn't "impose long working hours". She also told news agency AFP that keeping an employee's passport was not a human-rights breach because "I did not deprive the employee of her salary or beat her".

Al Qattan's initial comments came after a months-long diplomatic row between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Kuwait over the treatment of domestic workers, which resulted in changes in the law. The discord began in February when a murdered Filipina maid was found in her employer's freezer in Kuwait City.

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Read more:

Major beauty brand drops Kuwaiti influencer Sondos Al Qattan, who remains unapologetic over comments

Kuwaiti beauty blogger faces backlash over comments on Filipino overseas workers

Kuwait and Philippines strike domestic worker deal

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