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Video of a woman working in kitchen next to giant snake not ‘of a Kenyan maid in Saudi Arabia’ – it’s an old, unrelated video from Indonesia

IN SHORT: A video of a woman working in a kitchen as a python slithers beside her has stirred outrage online, as some Kenyans decry what they say are appalling working conditions in Saudi Arabia. But the video is of a pet in the home of an Indonesian actor.

A video showing a woman in a kitchen as a giant yellow snake slithers beside her has gone viral. According to the posts accompanying the video, the woman is a domestic worker from Kenya employed in Saudi Arabia. The snake, the posts claim, is her employer’s pet.

Many users of X, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook have shared the video, criticising the conditions in which domestic workers live and work in the Gulf countries. The clip has also been posted on YouTube and in some media.

Kenyan women working as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia have previously spoken out about abuse at the hands of their employers. By some official estimates, there are more than 80,000 Kenyans working as domestics in Saudi Arabia. 

It is in this context that the video of a woman working alongside a huge python stirred outrage online. Some users labelled it “wicked” while others called on the government to intervene. 

The video was posted here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Some users said the video came from the TikTok account @ngiro023.

But does the video show a Kenyan woman working in the Middle East? We checked.

False claim about a woman working in a home with a giant python

An Indonesian actor published the video 

We've traced the origin of the video. We observed two usernames partially visible on the right side of the footage. Due to the framing of the video, the full account names weren't visible, although in some instances they appeared almost complete.

These clues led us to the accounts of two users on Instagram named @abdulhakimtop and @house.ofabdulhakim. Both belong to an Indonesian actor named Adhin Abdul Hakim

On his @house.ofabdulhakim profile, the actor describes himself as an "animal enthusiast" and shares photos and videos of various reptiles, including a yellow python.

The video that has gone viral was posted on these accounts on 21 December 2023, with text in Indonesian. Translated by machine into English it reads: “Left for a trip for 71 days, 11 episodes, Alhamdulillah they always get along well, even though Asmara is indeed fond of bothering Mom in the kitchen.”

He pinned his location as “Mom’s Kitchen” and included the hashtags #home #snake #reptiles #python #reticulatedpython and #pets.

In an older video, dated 11 July 2022, the same yellow snake named "Asmara" appears in the same kitchen, along with a woman the Indonesian actor refers to as his mother.

After googling “‘Adhin Abdul Hakim’ + ‘Asmara’” we found a video posted on the actor's official YouTube account on 18 June 2020 titled “Mandiin si cantik asmara" (kayaknya dia yg paling besar di rumah). This means “‘Bathing the beautiful Asmara’ (seems like she's the biggest one at home)” and shows just that.

We contacted the Indonesian actor to confirm that the viral video showed his pet snake in his private home, but have not yet received a response.

In any case, we have enough clues to conclude that the snake video was not posted by and does not show a Kenyan woman working in Saudi Arabia. The snake belongs to an Indonesian actor who describes himself as an “animal enthusiast”.

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