DUBAI: Indian born celebrity chef Atul Kochhar has been laid off by the Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel after his communal and hateful comments towards Muslims.
Atul Kochhar, a Michelin-Star chef well known here for his Rang Mahal Indian restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel, received flak after taking a dig at Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra for her tweet over an episode in American television series ‘Quantico’ that purportedly portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists.
“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 told Gulf News Tabloid in an e-mail.
According to the hotel, the restaurant will continue to operate without the chef’s affiliation.
Journalist Rana Ayyub confirmed the news on Twitter, sharing an email for Keffer that she received.
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 13, 2018
On Sunday, Kochhar had lashed out at Priyanka Chopra saying:
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
Chopra was apologizing for hurting sentiments of Hindus, for an episode of Quantico that had depicted Indian nationalists trying to frame Pakistan in a terrorist plot.
The anti-Islam tweet created a furore on social media, with twitterati calling for firing the chef. Popular commentator and Arab journalist Khaled Almaeena tweeted: “You (Kochhar) have offended me..As a person who loves India its people no matter what their caste or creed. As a secular and liberal, it truly is a horror statement.”
Kochhar was one of the people who trolled and attacked Priyanka Chopra and ABC, the makers of the show, online because of the episode. Both Chopra and the channel had to apologise in the face of hatred spewed by Hindutva trolls on social media.
After being criticised for his hateful comments against Islam and Muslim people, Kochhar had apologised and asked for forgiveness. He also deleted his inflammatory tweet.
— Atul Kochhar (@atulkochhar) June 12, 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