Dubai’s JW Marriot sacked celebrity chef Atul Kocchar after the latter posted anti-Islam tweets to actress Priyanka Chopra. Kocchar, who ran the Indian restaurant ‘Rang Mahal’ at Marriot in Dubai, had received a lot of flak after his controversial tweets. He took a dig at the actress over an episode in her TV series Quantico that allegedly portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists.
The top chef had tweeted, “It’s sad to see that you (Priyanka) have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorized by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on You (sic).”
However, soon after Kocchar received flak, he deleted the tweet and apologised by saying, “There is no justification for my tweet … I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded round 1400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many.” The restaurant has reportedly planned to continue its operations without the chef’s association.
“Following the recent comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal. With the termination of our agreement, Chef Atul will no longer be associated with the restaurant,” Bill Keffer, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, reportedly informed Gulf News via an email.
Journalist Rana Ayyub too confirmed the news on Twitter, sharing an email sent to her by Keffer.
It is this normalisation of hate which is letting this celebrity chef get away with using such vile, provocative language against a community. @JWDubaiMarquis when you host iftaar evenings at marriott dubai, is this the spirit you celebrate ? pic.twitter.com/Cp7NY9htev
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 11, 2018
There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment on Sunday. I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many.
— Atul Kochhar (@atulkochhar) June 11, 2018
— Atul Kochhar (@atulkochhar) June 12, 2018
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 13, 2018