Radio hosts suspended after calling NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal ‘turban man’

By @chelean on
Gurbir Grewal
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal NJ.gov

Two radio presenters in New Jersey, US, have been suspended over their offensive remarks against the New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. NJ101.5 hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco called the first Sikh American named county prosecutor in the US as “Turban man” on Wednesday.

In an audio clip obtained by NJ.com, the hosts were discussing the recent news of Grewal temporarily suspending the prosecution of marijuana cases in New Jersey. Malloy couldn’t remember Grewal’s name, but it wasn’t a problem for him as he did not appear to be concerned to learn his name.

“The attorney general, you know, I’m never going to know his name,” he said. “I’m just going to say the guy with the turban.”

“Turban man,” Franco singsonged.

“But turban man … Listen, if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and I’ll remember your name,” he said. Is that offensive?” he asked, to which Franco replied, “To me? No. To people who wear turbans, could be.”

Malloy justified that if someone called him baseball hat man, he wouldn’t be offended. He then went on to discuss the news.

Grewal took to Twitter to reply to the NJ101.5 radio hosts. “My name, for the record, is Gurbir Grewal. I’m the 61st Attorney General of NJ. I’m a Sikh American. I have 3 daughters. And yesterday, I told them to turn off the radio,” he wrote.

The radio station has since suspended the pair for 10 days. Malloy and Franco are not expected to return on air until Aug. 6.

They have also released a statement of apology to Grewal for their insensitive remark, admitting that their humour and sarcasm during that instance were “off the mark.”

“We offer our sincerest apologies to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal as well as the Sikh and Asian communities for a series of insensitive comments we made on our show. For 21 years, the Dennis and Judi show has been unscripted and free form. We use humour and sarcasm to make a point and add colour to the broadcast; in this instance, we were off the mark. It was a mistake we both deeply regret. We respect all cultures and beliefs and are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the Sikh community, our co-workers and our beloved listeners,” the statement reads.

CNN has not yet received a reply when it asked Malloy what he meant when he said, “Listen, if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban, man. And I’ll remember your name.”

Meanwhile, NJ Governor Phil Murphy has condemned the pair’s conduct, saying “hate speech has no place in New Jersey, and it does not belong on our airwaves.”