A boycott movement against JW Marriot in Dubai has started after the hotel sacked a Michelin-starred chef over an anti-Islam tweet.
Twitter users, mainly from India, are using the hashtag #BoycottJWMarriott to slam the five-star establishment for terminating its contract with Atul Kochhar, who tweeted that followers of Islam had “terrorized” Hindus for 2,000 years.
The London-based chef, who is a British citizen of Indian origin, had been associated with the Rang Mahal restaurant in Dubai, had reportedly tweeted in response to an episode of the American TV series Quantico.
A recent episode of the show depicted a terror plot by Hindu nationalists. It prompted outrage in India, predictably, among Hindu Nationalists.
When Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who stars in Quantico, apologized for the storyline to her fans, Kochhar tweeted: “It’s sad to see that you [Chopra] have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorized by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on You.”
Then it was Kochhar's tweet that drew criticism from other users, accusing him of Islamophobia.
He quickly deleted the tweet, saying, “There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment. I fully recognize my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologize. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many.”
However, the damage was done.
The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim-majority country. Many people called for Kochhar's termination. The backlash grew to the extent that he had to issue a second apology.
But a day later, JW Marriot hotel announced it was cutting ties with the Michelin-starred chef.
“Following the recent comments made by chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “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.”
The hotel's decision sparked yet another outcry leading to #BoycottJWMarriott. While the UAE is a Muslim-majority country, it has largest number of Indian migrants in world.
It is important to note that in the #BoycottJWMarriott thread most of the backlash comes from people with right-wing views:
#BoycottJWMarriott— Mark Kumar Sharma (MK) (@MarkKumar3) June 13, 2018
Because of racist behavior by JW Marriott & Halal Gems against Hindu Atul Kochar,I've fired 4 Muslim employees as a protest & will not be doing any business with any Muslim client/ vendor. Every action has an equal reaction. I urge all Hindus to do same ??
Henceforth I boycott @JWMarriott for the rest of my life. My individual boycott might not mean anything to this huge empire but it will give me peace. I’ll do whatever is needed to carry this word forward#BoycottJWMarriott— Sona (@sona2905) June 13, 2018
I am a Silver elite member, used to prefer staying with Marriott group of hotels in my international travels. To protest against the communal behavior, I am not going to stay in any of your group of hotels @JWMarriott.#BoycottJWMarriott #BoycottMarriott pic.twitter.com/4KD9aUFP7p— Girish Alva (@girishalva) June 13, 2018
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