Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, the NJ101.5 radio hosts who were suspended from their jobs last month after they mocked New Jersey’s Sikh attorney general Gurbir Grewal, have returned on air and told NJ.com that they have learned their lesson after they referred to him as the “turban man” and “the guy with the turban.”
“We had a tough week but I do want to say that we learned a lot this week. We want to get back right away to doing what we do. I couldn’t be happier to be sitting at this microphone,” Franco told his listeners on air.
Franco and Malloy thanked their listeners and the show’s advertisers, who had sent encouraging messages of support during their 10-day suspension.
It was within hours of their comments, when Gov. Phil Murphy accused them of spreading hate speech in a statement that sharply condemned them.
“I’m outraged by the abhorrent and xenophobic comments made earlier today mocking Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on “The Dennis & Judi Show” on New Jersey 101.5. 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,” Murphy had said at the time.
United Sikhs, a nonprofit advocacy organization, even offered to meet with the radio hosts and other employees at NJ101.5 to educate them about the “turban” and suggested the meeting be held in this week at Guru Singh Sabha Sikh temple in Glen Rock, where Grewal is a member, however will not take place until fall as representatives from the attorney general’s office will not be able to attend until then, according to Megan Daly, a spokeswoman for United Sikhs.
Murphy’s statement came after Malloy and Franco discussed Grewal’s move to tell municipal prosecutors not to pursue charges for marijuana arrests, according to NJ.com.
“I’m never gonna know his name. I’m just gonna say the guy with the turban. Listen, and if that offends you then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name. Is that highly offense? Could be. But if you call me ‘baseball hat man’ in a culture where nobody wears baseball hats, and they call me ‘baseball hat man,’ should I be offended? No,” Malloy had said on air with Franco agreeing.
Malloy did apologize in a video posted on Facebook, shortly after the suspension was announced.
According to NJ.com, Grewal is a first-generation Indian American residing in New Jersey and as a practicing Sikh, he wears the turban.