Dubai: A growing number of companies are distancing themselves from Kuwaiti social media star Sondos Al Qattan as the influencer comes under increasing pressure to apologise.
A significant backlash ensued last week when Alqattan posted a video to Instagram in which she criticised the rights of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait.
On Tuesday, Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido, South Korean company Etude House, and US haircare brand Phyto all sought to mitigate the fallout from Alqattan’s comments. The make-up artist and beauty blogger has yet to apologise, instead doubling down on her original statement.
Etude House similarly stopped short of firing the influencer, saying in a statement that “as an Asian-origin company....[Etude House] supports the uplifting and betterment in living conditions of domestic help in the Middle East.”
“The recent comments made are personal comments, and not associate with the brand,” it added.
Etude House is managed in the Gulf region by Kuwaiti retail giant Alshaya.
“Shiseido does not support or align with the recent statements made by Sondos Alqattan,” a spokesperson from the company told Gulf News.
When asked for clarification as to whether Shiseido was planning to cut ties with Alqattan, the company did not respond.
Phyto, meanwhile, called the influencer’s remarks “unacceptable,” and said the company would not endorse Alqattan’s comments by allowing her name and image to be linked to the brand’s products.
“Consequently, we asked our distributor in Kuwait to end his relationship with Ms Sondos Alqattan if she does not withdraw her remarks,” Phyto added in its statement which has posted to Instagram.
Global make-up brand MAC Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills, both of which have previously worked with Alqattan, have not commented on the situation, despite repeated attempts by Gulf News to contact the companies.
Critics online are demanding that Alqattan’s advertisers cancel well-paid endorsement deals following her comments.
The influencer continues to face a barrage of criticism online in response to her comments.
Alex Malouf, a past chair of the International Association of Business Communicators, a global network of communication professionals, told Gulf News that offended consumers wanted definitive action.
“Brands who are working with Sondos Alqattan need to clearly state what their values are, and what actions they’re going to take following her statements,” Malouf said. “Consumers want more than words, they want to see clear action which indicates whether the brands are taking seriously their anger towards an issue which has upset many.”