Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel has severed ties with chef Atul Kochhar after a series an offensive tweet to actress Priyanka Chopra caused a fierce backlash on social media.
The chef, who has a two Michelin-star restaurant in London, operated the Rang Mahal Indian restaurant at the hotel. The restaurant has been removed from the JW Marriot Marquis website.
“Following the recent comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal,” Bill Keffer, the general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai said in a statement. “Chef Atul will no longer be associated with the restaurant.”
Keffer added that the hotel prides itself “on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants.”
“We remain committed to delivering the traditional culinary experience and high service standards that Rang Mahal is renowned for,” he added.
The hotel’s ire at Kochhar stems from a tweet directed at Chopra, which itself followed an apology from her for offending Muslims through an episode of her TV show, Quantico, which depicted a Hindu nationalist group as extremists.
In the tweet – which has since been deleted – Kochhar said that “it’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2,000 years. Shame on you.”
Following the initial backlash to his Tweet, Kochhar said that it was a “major error that occurred in the heat of the moment”.
“I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologise,” he added. “I am not Islamophobic. I deeply regret my comments that have offended many.”
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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
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