This is a little strange. How does a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and international spokesperson for the UNiTE to End Violence against Women initiative end up representing an airline alleged to mistreat its female employees?
Recently announced as the face of, and following the release of her advertisement for United Arab Emirates second largest airline, Etihad Airways, Nicole Kidman has received criticism, and a request from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. In an open letter, the union has asked the actress to dissociate herself from the airline.
“The 25,000 members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants greatly admire and appreciate your efforts to advance women’s rights around the world as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador…However, we believe those efforts are at odds with your prominent role in an advertising campaign for Etihad Airways. The United Arab Emirates and their airlines are well-known in our industry for their discriminatory labor practices and deplorable treatment of female employees. Therefore, the APFA must respectfully ask that you - as a leading advocate for women around the globe - not lend your voice, your image, and your good name to Etihad Airways.”
Citing “abhorrent labor policies” and a recent article that points out the United Arab Emirates allows husbands (and therefore Etihad employees) to physically discipline their wives, the APFA letter urges Kidman to stop promoting the airline. Of course, the airline has already responded, but I’m more interested in why Kidman would have become a spokesperson for Etihad in the first place. She’s certainly can’t be unaware of the referenced HRW report on UAE’s discrimination against women, and inadequate protection from domestic violence, sexual assault, as well as treatment of migrant workers. We’re anxious to see how the requests for Kidman’s comments are answered. Don’t be a suppressive person again, Nicole!
If you’re interested, here’s Kidman’s Etihad Airways commercial.