When it comes to international success, Dior has it covered. From cosmetics to fragrances, they specialise in helping mask the less attractive elements of the human experience — and that’s exactly what they’re doing in the United Arab Emirates as well.
Recently Dior sponsored a celebrity-studded $75,000 per table gala for the Guggenheim who is opening a new branch on the glistening shores of Abu Dhabi. But behind that glitz, what Dior doesn’t want you to see is that the new Guggenheim is being built on the backs and broken spirits of modern-day slave labourers.
You might not have heard, but right now $27 billion is being spent on bringing high culture to the Gulf, with the Guggenheim, The Louvre and New York University building new branches in the region.
But multiple independent investigations have found that Dior’s investment in high culture has led to low wages and working conditions so poor it equates to modern-day slavery.
The Guggenheim’s predominantly migrant workforce arrive already crippled by debt with thousands of dollars owed for transit and recruitment fees, their passports are confiscated by employers and they work 16 hour days through 45C heat.
There’s something truly wrong when a fundraiser bringing in $75,000 per table leads to wages of $7 per day for workers. It’s sad, but the reality of the situation in the UAE can only lead to one conclusion: the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is a museum featuring “the old masters,” built by slave masters.
International Trade Union Conferederation