A pair of hosts on one of New Jersey’s top radio stations have been bounced from the airwaves after they mocked the state’s attorney general — who is a Sikh-American — as “turban man” on the air, the station said early Thursday.
Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco made the inflammatory comments about Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on their Wednesday afternoon show on New Jersey 101.5 while talking about his plan to suspend marijuana prosecutions.
“You know the new attorney general? I’m never going to know his name, I’m just gonna say the guy with the turban,” said Malloy.
“Turban man!” Franco could be heard saying.
Malloy, laughing, then blames Grewal, who wears a turban as part of his faith, for his inability to remember his name.
“If it offends you, then don’t wear the turban, man, and I’ll remember your name,” Malloy laughed. “But Turban Man — is that highly offensive?”
“To me? No. To people who wear turbans, could be,” replied Franco.
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The comments prompted New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to denounce Malloy and Franco in a tweet late Wednesday.
“Outraged by the abhorrent and xenophobic comments mocking” Grewal, he wrote, adding: “Hate speech has no place in NJ, and does not belong on our airwaves. Station management must hold the hosts accountable for these intolerant and racist comments.”
The hosts were also blasted by the ACLU of New Jersey, which tweeted: “Racism isn’t cute. It’s just racist.”
A short while later, NJ 101.5 posted a story on its website saying Malloy and Franco were “off the air until further notice.”
“We are aware of the offensive comments made by Dennis and Judi during today’s broadcast,” the station wrote. “We have taken immediate action and have taken them off the air until further notice. We are investigating the matter and will have further comment shortly.”
Grewal, 45, who was appointed to his post by Murphy in January, is the son of immigrant parents and the country’s first Sikh-American attorney general.
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