Sunnies Studios, an eyewear company founded by model Georgina Wilson and other celebrities, has found itself in hot water after allegations have surfaced that it had exploited its former workers.
The allegations became public when Sunnies announced last week that it would donate all of the proceeds of its sales to communities affected by Typhoon Vamco, which destroyed parts of Metro Manila, the Bicol Region, Cagayan Valley, and Pampanga province.
Instead of lauding the initiative, many Filipinos accused the company of failing to pay its former workers. One of the netizens shared a post written by a certain Nina Amoncio, who alleged that one of Sunnies’ former employees had been waiting for her final pay for the past nine months. The former worker, named Regina Ligon, had reached out to Wilson and the company’s other owners, but they allegedly failed to respond to her pleas.
Amoncio later updated her post to say that Sunnies had already paid Ligon. However, she launched an attack against Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano, the father of Sunnies’ co-founder Bea Soriano-Dee, because he celebrated his birthday with his family in Batangas while floodwaters inundated his hometown. His weekend getaway became public after his daughter shared an Instagram photo, which showed themselves relaxing in Batangas, but the image had since been deleted from Dee’s account following widespread outrage.
Mayor Soriano has faced at least four corruption cases and an electoral fraud case but remains in power in his hometown.
Other allegations about Sunnies’ anomalous labor practices also surfaced on Twitter. Someone using the handle @finallyclean117 shared posts from former workers, including Ligon, saying that they have yet to receive their separation pay from the company.
Just when we thought Sunnies Studios couldn’t get more problematic, here are their employees pleading for their final pay na 9 mos nang di naibibigay ng Sunnies Studios. @SunniesStudios ANG BABARAT NYO, COMPENSATE YOUR EMPLOYEES YOU CAPITALIST LEECHES #BoycottSunniesStudios pic.twitter.com/1TIjiPdTra
— baby sweetcream #CagayanNeedsHelp (@finallyclean117) November 14, 2020
Coconuts Manila has reached out to Sunnies Studios about the issue, but they have yet to respond as of writing. Meanwhile, critics continue to attack Sunnies and its owners, with a certain @keeshtsantos urging the public to boycott the brand.
“You don’t need shades, and your money might go somewhere else. The father of one of the owners has a ton of corruption cases, right? Better entrust your money to reliable organizations who will actually put [your] donations to good use,” she said.
Aside from Sunnies Studios, Wilson and Dee also own the makeup brand Sunnies Face and the restaurant Sunnies Cafe.
Wilson, considered one of local fashion’s “It Girls” in the early aughts, was a former girlfriend of Borgy Marcos-Manotoc, the son of Senator Imee Marcos and the grandson of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
This article, #BoycottSunnies: Georgina Wilson’s eyewear company accused of failing to pay ex-employees, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.