Update: Flight Attendants Support Nicole Kidman in UAE Airline Controversy
The national president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants requested that the actress stop lending "your voice, your image, and your good name to Etihad Airways"
A group of airline attendants is now speaking out in support of Nicole Kidman after she was criticized earlier this week for promoting Etihad Airways.
In a response letter posted online Monday, a group of American Airlines flight attendants wrote that they “would like to personally apologize” to Kidman and called their union president’s attack on the actress “unwarranted and unjustified,” describing it as part of her personal political agenda:
“Her attack on you is aimed solely at opening doors in Washington and has little to do with the rights of flight attendants employed by foreign carriers,” the letter states.
The actress, 47, came under fire earlier on Monday for her new role as the face of a major United Arab Emirates airline earlier.
The national president of Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Laura R. Glading, wrote an open letter to the Australian actress, 47, asking her to end her involvement in a new ad campaign for Etihad Airways, which has been singled out by the APFA for gender-discriminatory labor practices.
In a statement dated April 2, Glading asked Kidman to terminate her association with the “abusive” company, citing claims that the airline has fired women over pregnancy and has forced flight attendants to “live in confinement in secure compounds.”
“We urge you, on behalf of the women and girls that you spoke of so eloquently, not to play a part in promoting Etihad Airways, a company that imposes abusive labor practices on its female employees and whose sole owner is a government that stands against the very world that you imagine,” Glading wrote in the letter.
Glading also notes that the organization admires the Paddington actress for her efforts to advance women’s rights around the world as a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. Kidman was appointed to that role in January 2006.
“Using your profile and stature for such a noble endeavor is commendable,” Glading said. “However, we believe those efforts are at odds with your prominent role in an advertising campaign for Etihad Airways.”
Etihad Airways – the second-largest airline of the United Arab Emirates – fired back at the accusations Friday, urging its brand ambassador to continue her participation in its campaigns.
“Our commitment to the welfare, safety, and well-being of the diverse group of men and women who have worked so hard to make Etihad Airways great is one of our airline s top priorities,” the company announced in a statement obtained by Arabian Business.
Etihad Airways also addressed the claims surrounding mistreatment of pregnant employees, stating, “When a cabin crew member informs Etihad of a pregnancy, she is provided with appropriate ground duties for the duration of their pregnancy. During this time, she remains fully compensated and fully engaged on the ground.”
A rep for Kidman did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.