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Kardashian’s Use Sweatshop Labour – Like They Are The Only Ones

In shock horror news the Kardashian’s are getting the finger pointed at them for using sweatshop labour. The Daily Telegraph says that some of their products come from factories that pay their workers as little as $1.00 an hour. Also it says the workers are as young as 16… not sure what is scandalous about that aspect of the story, considering there are 16 year olds working in factories in Australia and the US.

For once I am not going to put the boot into the Kardashians not because I am supportive of the conditions in Chinese factories, but why should they get singled out there are plenty of companies getting products made in China under dubious conditions and we are buying them.

Ok I could not buy the Kardashian nail polish to take a stance, but then I will be blogging on my Apple Mac, and making calls on my iphone, a company who also has come under fire on this issue. Unfortunately a lot of westerners are addicted to the inexpensive goods we buy on the back of the cheap labour in China and other emerging economies.

However for the record I don’t have to feel guilty on this specific issue as I am a Kardashian product free household….

The organisation behind the story is Charles Kernaghan, the executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, and obviously they know by pointing the finger at the Kardashian’s they will get publicity to raise the issue of conditions in China.

He says:

“The Kardashians are in bed with some pretty bad people,” Mr Kernaghan alleged.

“Not only are celebrities like the Kardashians taking advantage of these workers, they are holding hands with a government that spits on democracy and women’s rights.”

While many Kardashian products were found to have no links to sweatshop labour whatsoever, the ones of concern are produced in the Guangdong region of China.

In Guangdong, workers often toil in factories that are not air-conditioned, even as temperatures swell over 38C.

Workers live in squalid dormitories and, after they pay for room and board, often pocket as little as $15 a month.

Some workers clocked as many as 84 hours a week under conditions that the investigators described as akin to “minimum security prisons”.

While products endorsed by Carmen Electra and former Spice Girl Melanie Brown are also under fire by his organisation, Mr Kernaghan believes Kim Kardashian could do the most to put an end to these practices.

“Kim has been very fortunate, but it’s time for her and her family to treat these workers with respect,” he said.

“If she took a stand and said, ‘I want to manufacture my products in Chicago or Los Angeles, where I can ensure people humane conditions,’ she would be taking the right stand.”

Should people boycott the Kardashian products or should we be more responsible consumers overall?

UPDATE: Charles Kernaghan from the Global Labour and Human Rights organisation has now said he was misquoted, and he was generally talking about the conditions in that region of China. (Source: TMZ)


1 Maz { 12.22.11 at 1:24 pm }

We should become more responsible consumers but at the end of the day despite protests to the contrary its all about the price. Retailers and manufacturers know that and treat the consumer accordingly.

On a more cheerful note-Merry Christmas RR

2 Reality Raver { 12.22.11 at 1:31 pm }

Merry Xmas to you to Maz. It is a tough one that is for sure.

3 Culinary Boner { 12.22.11 at 4:41 pm }

I’m confused. I thought SHE was the product.
This sort of thing works two ways, though.
Best to pressure by whatever means possible for better conditions for these factory workers, whose previous alternative was a life of even worse toil and subsistence on the land. No future in going back to rice paddies, cotton farms or grazing animals. No point either in making consumers in the west waste their tax dollars propping up uncompetitive industries or paying overs for products – even if this has the side benefit of less bleating from Gerry Harvey.
Why the fuck would anyone want a Kargashian product anyways?