Chef and restaurateur, Atul Kochhar who runs the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, Benares, in Mayfair, has had his partnership with the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai terminated. It follows an anti-Islam tweet posted by the chef at the weekend.
He told his followers on Sunday in a now-deleted tweet that Muslims had “terrorised” Hindus for 2,000 years. He was responding to a Hindu nationalist plot line in Indian actress Priyanka Chopra’s American TV show Quantico.
Following a backlash, on Monday, Kochhar apologised for his remarks, saying there was no justification for the remarks, nor was he Islamophobic.
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.
The following day, Kochar, with a now pinned tweet, reiterated his apologies, calling his original comments insensitive and wrong. He added that he was upset and sorry for the pain he had caused.
Bill Keffer, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Dubai said in a statement provided to Eater: “We pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants.
“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, [Kochhar] will no longer be associated with the restaurant and the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.
Eater contacted Kochhar’s representatives for his London restaurant Benares, who said “There is no further comment and currently his businesses are not effected [sic].”