A Dubai hotel has cut ties with celebrity chef Atul Kochhar following an inflammatory tweet that caused outrage on social media amid accusations of racism, bigotry and Islamophobia.
The Michelin-starred chef operated the award-winning Rang Mahal Indian restaurant at Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel.
“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 said in an emailed statement to Gulf News tabloid!.
“At the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants. We also remain committed to delivering the traditional culinary experience and high service standards that Rang Mahal is renowned for.”
Kochhar faced the wrath of social media users after he called out Chopra on Twitter, who had posted an apology of her own on her timeline for causing offense by a recent episode of her TV show Quantico that portrayed a Hindu nationalist group as terrorists.
In Kochhar’s now deleted tweet, the chef responded to Chopra’s mea culpa, stating: “It’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on you.”
Following the swift online backlash that followed, Kochhar retracted the tweet and called it a “major error made in the heat of the moment,” while further adding: “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.”