NJ Politics Digest: Radio Hosts Suspended for ‘Turban Man’ Comments About State AG

Gurbir Grewal.

Gurbir Grewal. Christian Hetrick for Observer

A pair of radio talk show hosts are off the air for 10 days after repeatedly referring to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal as “turban man.”

NJ101.5 hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco apologized for “insensitive comments” after being called out for remarks made earlier this week after Grewal said the state was placing prosecution of low-level marijuana-related offenses on hold until September.

During the broadcast, Malloy said he couldn’t remember Grewal’s name so, “I’m just going to say the guy with the turban.”

At that point, Franco sings “turban man,” in imitation of a Super Hero theme song.

“Listen, if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban, man. And I’ll remember your name,” Malloy said.

During the conversation, Malloy asks if his comment are “highly offensive.”

“To me? No,” says Franco. “To people who wear turbans? Could be.”

In an apology posted on the radio station website, the pair said: “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 humor and sarcasm to make a point and add color to the broadcast; in this instance, we were off the mark. It was a mistake we both deeply regret.”

New Jersey 101.5/WKXW-FM president Ron deCastro said the station took the pair’s comments “seriously and echo Dennis and Judi’s sincere apology to Attorney General Grewal and his family, as well as the Sikh and Asian communities.”

“Dennis and Judi are known for their plainspoken brand of humor, but in this case, the language used was clearly demeaning and inappropriate,” he said.

Gov. Phil Murphy told The Record the comments were “completely unacceptable.”

“This is not something where somebody sort of just tiptoed across a line. They crossed it by miles,” the governor said.

Megan Daly, spokesperson for UNITED SIKHS, told CNN: “Sikhs maintain our articles of faith, including unshorn hair and turbans, to represent equality and justice. However, these visible markers of religious identity also make us a target for bigotry by harassment.”

Quote of the Day: “My name, for the record, is Gurbir Grewal. I’m the 61st Attorney General of NJ. I’m a Sikh American. I have three daughters. And yesterday, I told them to turn off the radio.”— New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

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NJ Politics Digest: Radio Hosts Suspended for ‘Turban Man’ Comments About State AG