JW Marriot Dubai sacks Atul Kochhar for Islamophobic tweet, chef terms decision ‘deeply upsetting’


Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel on Wednesday sacked Chef Atul Kochhar, who ran the hotel’s Indian restaurant, Rang Mahal, inside its premises after he sensationally posted hateful tweets against Islam and Muslims.


Bill Keffer, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai said in an emailed statement to Gulf News, “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.”

The hotel had taken a dim view of Kochhar’s anti-Muslim rants posted in response to the controversy surrounding Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico. The hotel had first distanced itself from Kochhar’s statement, but was forced to issue a new statement in the wake of raging international condemnation. It had said, “We are taking this matter very seriously and are currently reviewing the situation.”

While commenting on the termination of Kochhar’s contract, JW Marriot said that it was committed to continue with the Indian restaurant. It said, “At the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants. We also remain committed to delivering the traditional culinary experience and high service standards that Rang Mahal is renowned for.”

Meanwhile, reacting to his sacking, Kochhar told Khaleej Times newspaper that the decision was ‘deeply upsetting.’ He said, “The decision by JW Marriott Maquis 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 future.”

In his tweet in response to Priyanka’s apology for a Hindu terror plot in Quantico, Kochhar had written, “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.”

He had later posted two back to back apologies. His apologies had very little effect on his critics, who felt that he was a serial offender.