DUBAI: Feeling the heat of strong global condemnation for his anti-Islam tweet, Dubai-based celebrity Indian chef Atul Kochhar apologised again on Tuesday. He had apologized on Monday and deleted his controversial Sunday tweet.
Kochhar runs his popular Rang Mahal restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai. The hotel has already distanced itself from the chef’s controversial comment about Islam.
On Sunday noon, Kochhar had tweeted: “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 tweeted this in response to Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra’s apology over a Quantico episode that portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists.
As condemnations rained on Kochhar following his tweet, he issued an apology on Monday for his factual “inaccuracies” and denied he was “Islamophobic”.
“There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment on Sunday,” he posted, adding: “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,” he said and deleted his tweet.
But many pointed that he was apologizing just for the wrong dates and not for his anti-Islam comment. This led to Kochhar issuing a fresh apology on Tuesday night.
“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. My work and my restaurants are defined by a passion to unite cultures through food, love and understanding. I have let myself and my colleagues down. I am upset and sorry for the pain I have caused and ask for your forgiveness,” he said and pinned his tweet on his handle.
His Sunday comment had triggered outrage on social media. UAE residents had even demanded his sacking from the JW Marriott Marquis hotel.
Responding to the outrage, the JW Marriott Marquis hotel said: “We are aware of the comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar. We would like to stress that we do not share the same views as stated in the remark, nor is it a representation of the culture of diversity and inclusion that we pride ourselves on at the hotel.”