On Wednesday, a leading hotel in Dubai ended its association with celebrity chef Atul Kochhar after a controversy over his anti-Islam tweet, with the Michelin star winner saying the move was “deeply upsetting”.
The chef apologised twice but JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai said it was cutting its ties with Kochhar, who operated the award-winning Rang Mahal restaurant at the 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, said in a statement.
The second Indian to win a Michelin star told Gulf News that the hotel’s decision was “deeply upsetting” but he accepted the “great pain I have caused and the difficult position the hotel has been put in”. He added that he hoped “my friends and well-wishers in Dubai will forgive me and continue to support me”.
In a now-deleted tweet, Kochhar had responded to Chopra’s apology by saying, “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.”
In his second apology within 48 hours, the chef had said his tweets were “insensitive and wrong”.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday, he said: “I would like to apologise unreservedly to my Muslim friends, the Islamic community and everyone I have offended with my recent tweets. They were insensitive and wrong.”
He added, “I have let myself and my colleagues down. I am upset and sorry for the pain I have caused and asked for your forgiveness.”