Well, it looks like the Kardashians are getting a heap of tabloid drama for the holidays. Kim just finished having a hissy fit over this week’s National Enquirer report that she was disrespectful and nasty to poor people in Haiti, and now Radar has released this week’s Star Magazine cover, which I’m sure will cause even more famewhore dramz. Star claims that the Kardashians are using sweatshops to make their various Kardashian products, and now a human rights group is basically calling out the Kardashians for using “slave labor.”
In a stunning world exclusive exposé Star magazine is reporting that the Kardashian family are endorsing and selling fashion products manufactured in foreign sweatshops, where workers, some as young as sixteen years old, are abused and virtually imprisoned.
A prestigious human-rights watchdog organization has launched an investigation into America’s top TV family, with officials imploring the Kardashians not to profit from what amounts to “slave labor.”
“The Kardashians are in bed with some pretty bad people,” Charles Kernaghan, the executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, tells Star. “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 the Kardashians are involved with many fine consumer products in the fashion, beauty, fragrance, health and lifestyle industries that are not part of this investigation, there are several brands that are coming under fire. Items in the family’s high-end K-Dash by Kardashian label and the Kris Jenner Kollection — sold on the home-shopping television network QVC — and ShoeDazzle, a company that Kim cofounded and endorses, are all manufactured in areas of China where government regulations are often ignored and workers are subject to inhumane conditions.
Li Qiang, the executive director of China Labor Watch, says that the reality stars are turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, for the sake of their bottom line. “People like the Kardashians are producing their products in China because they will get more profit, since the labor cost is so low compared to the United States and other countries,” he tells Star exclusively.
The sweatshop workers live in squalid factory-run dormitories filled with the stench of sewage while toiling up to 84 hours during seven-day work weeks to produce some of the goods that helped Kourtney, 32, Kim, 31, Khloé, 27, mom Kris, 56, and the rest of their family earn $65 million last year.
Shockingly, the impoverished workers earn just a paltry $1 an hour, slaving away in factories in the Guangdong region of China, which Kernaghan describes as being “like minimum-security prisons.”
The region is a “scary place,” Kernaghan continues, where the peak summer season is “brutal,” with temperatures inside non-air-conditioned factories soaring to over 100˚F. Workers in the region can come out with as little as $15 a month once rent and food debts have been paid to their bosses.
“You can’t talk during working hours,” Kernaghan adds. “You can’t listen to music; you can’t stand up and stretch. You can’t even put your head up and look around, or you will be screamed at. If you get permission to use the toilet, you get four minutes. If you’re highly specialized, you cannot even go to the bathroom.”
Star has learned that human-rights groups have dispatched their undercover investigators to a number of factories that have been linked to the Kardashians. And, Kernaghan says, it is time for the world and the Kardashians to take some responsibility. “Kim has been very fortunate, but it’s time for her and her family to treat these workers with respect,” he tells Star.
“Kim, for example, could say, ‘It ain’t going to be all about me, me and me.’ She could do something and not leave behind a broken mess of women and children. 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.”
For the full shocking story on conditions within the sweatshops, and to read how Carmen Electra and Mel B are also coming under fire, pick up the new issue of Star magazine — on newsstands Thursday.
Once again, I’m not going to defend the Kardashians, but I doubt that the Kardashian brand is the only company to use Chinese sweatshop labor. That doesn’t make it right, and of course, the Kardashians should know better and they should rectify the situation and demand that production should be moved to a country with stronger labor laws. But child labor is an enormous problem in China, in India, and in many developing countries. The exploitation is widespread and it will continue unabated without movement from governments, international businesses and watchdog groups. It’s a tragedy that poor Chinese children are being exploited so that people can buy Kardashian Krap, just as it’s a tragedy that so much of what Wal-Mart sells comes from countries with equally horrendous human rights records. I’m just saying – the issue is a lot bigger than the plague of Armenian ass implants. But yes, the Kardashians should manufacture in America. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have made American manufacturing a priority for their lines – why not the Kardashians?
Photos courtesy of WENN.