Michelin Star winner celebrity chef Atul Kochhar has landed amidst a controversy that is now threatening his livelihood. We are all aware of Quantico fiasco in which Hinduism was slandered in an episode. Following which, Priyanka Chopra apologized but got trolled instead. The chef was one among those who weren’t convinced by the apology of the actress. Hence, he spoke out about ‘Hindu persecution at the hands of Islam.’ Soon, he became a target for the trolls.
He is an Indian-origin chef in the United Arab Emirates. He is well-known for heading Rang Mahal Indian restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel. Though he deleted the original tweet that agitated the netizens, here’s an image of what he posted:
It hurt the sentiments of few Muslims who were not happy with the tweet. They demanded to target his business and posted the following comments:
@JWDubaiMarquis please look into your contract with Atul Kochhar.
He makes iftar in your hotel but hates Muslims and Islam in public.
Your employment of him kind of endorses his views. Hope you take strict disciplinary actions. pic.twitter.com/8TWZOPRNzwAdvertisement
— Kamran Shahid (@iKamranShahid) June 10, 2018
Probably not going to go down well with authorities in the UAE where @atulkochhar does business ( @JWDubaiMarquis ) or his Muslim patrons around the world. But on the other hand he’ll be popular on the Indian Right. 😬 pic.twitter.com/aK9Oo9WUnw
— Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) June 11, 2018
Atul Kochhar is a scumbag. Hope you lose business at Benares, Rang Mahal etc as a result of your bigotry pic.twitter.com/WehiFZfDlH
— Najeeb Khan (@najeebster) June 10, 2018
@atulkochhar has a media career and he’s shown the world what a racist he really is !
— Rosy Brooks (@RosyBrooks3) June 10, 2018
Dear @DubaiPoliceHQ @moiuae please look into the anti-Islamic hateful tweets of this man @atulkochhar who owns a restaurant (Rang Mahal, JW Marriott) in Dubai. Take necessary action against him. pic.twitter.com/OgGkGUtalW
— Omer (@Intellectroll) June 10, 2018
Soon, Atul Kochhar came up with an apology for his historical inaccuracies. Also, claimed that he is not Islamophobic. However, he never refuted his original comment on Hindus getting insulted at hands of Muslims. He tweeted:
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
With intolerance running high among netizens, people further stretched the matter shunning his apology. Also, a restaurant aggregator named ‘Halal Gems’ issued official statement his eatery is removed from their database as an act of protest. Read the tweet:
For those asking, please read our official statement regarding @atulkochhar’s tweets.
— Halal Gems (@HalalGems) June 11, 2018
Many came forward to appreciate the step taken by ‘Halal Gems’ to boycott Atul Kochhar:
— Hasan Patel (@Hasanpatel) June 12, 2018
— Apolitical Guran (@SelctiveAmnesia) June 11, 2018
Brilliant. Well done for standing strong and not compromising on your values @zkhaku
— Aliya Zaidi (@aliyazaidi) June 11, 2018
— SAK (@Oyechupsaale) June 11, 2018
However, amidst this endless sea of trolling, there were some who showed their support. They pointed out that he has every right express his thoughts. This is what they tweeted:
Full support to Atul Kochhar and shame on those who hounded him. I don’t expect liberals to stand up for his FOE but those of us who support FOE in real sense should show support https://t.co/0PnbRyAcY0
— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) June 12, 2018
He can come back to India. We will give him full support to start his business again. Will ask all friends and relatives to avoid to visit to dubai. Enough is Enough. Without Indians, Dubai will be bankrupt.
— Ayaan Gupta (@AyaanGuptaInd) June 13, 2018
Of course he was wrong. Islam has terrorized Hindus since 1400 years and not 2000 years.
— Chitti 2.0 (@NotADiplomatic) June 13, 2018
Thank you & @AartiTikoo, etc for supporting him. until today I thought what the hell is going on, why no prominent figures are speaking up against this Islamic & pseudo-liberal cabal hounding a person for talking about his opinion on history( be it right or wrong). #AtulKochhar
— AgnosticIndian (@indian_agnostic) June 13, 2018
@atulkochhar spoke truth.
Being off-mark by few years does not matter.
Unfortunately he depends on Dubai for his livelihood.
So you are excused by Hindus.
— POOPSY – I Hate Indian Naxal Congress (@poopsy1971) June 13, 2018
He again published another tweet saying sorry for his comment on Islam community:
— Atul Kochhar (@atulkochhar) June 12, 2018
However, it seems that the Islam community in Dubai is not ready to forgive the chef, yet. Customers started canceling their wedding parties and meal booking at JW Marriott Marquis to protest against the chef. After the huge backlash, the hotel finally decided to cut ties with the chef. In an official statement they stated:
‘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.’
As for Atul Kochhar, he gave an official statement that despite the matter being unsettling, he understands the decision of the hotel. Also, he is deeply sorry for his comment. This is what he said:
‘The decision by JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is deeply upsetting, however I fully accept the great pain I have caused and the difficult position the hotel has been put in. I have great respect for JW Marriott and in particular their staff in Dubai and wish the hotel well for the future. I hope my friends and well-wishers in Dubai will forgive me and continue to support me in the future.’
What’s your take on the matter?