A New Jersey radio station suspended two talk-show hosts for referring to state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a practicing Sikh, as “Turban Man.”
In broadcast comments Wednesday, Dennis Malloy, the co-host of a program on Townsquare Media-owned WKXW-FM in Ewing, said he was “never going to know his name,” and would refer to Grewal as “the guy with the turban.” Co-host Judi Franco, in a singsong voice, responded, “Turban Man.”
“If that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and I’ll remember your name,” Malloy said. “Turban Man – is that highly offensive?” Franco answered: “To me? No. To people who wear turbans, could be.”
The remarks came as the two were discussing Grewal’s directive this week to local prosecutors to seek 30-day adjournments of marijuana cases while a panel devises guidelines on how to handle such court proceedings. Governor Phil Murphy and the legislature are moving toward legalization of the drug.
On its website, the station, best known as New Jersey 101.5, said the hosts’ remarks were offensive and that it was reviewing the matter.
“We have taken immediate action and have taken them off the air until further notice,” the station said.
Grewal, 45, has spoken publicly about enduring taunts for wearing a symbol of his faith.
“This is not the first indignity I’ve faced and it probably won’t be the last,” he wrote on Twitter this morning. “Sometimes, I endure it alone. Yesterday, all of New Jersey heard it. It’s time to end small-minded intolerance.”
Murphy, who in January appointed Grewal as the first Sikh attorney general in the U.S., said Wednesday that he was disgusted by the hosts’ conduct.
“Hate speech has no place in New Jersey, and it does not belong on our airwaves. Station management must now hold the hosts accountable for these intolerant and racist comments,” the governor said in a statement.