N.J. Radio Hosts Off the Air After “Turban Man” Comments

NJ101.5’s Dennis and Judi have been called “abhorrent and xenophobic” for their insulting reference to the state’s Sikh American attorney general, Gurbir Grewal.

AG Gurbir Grewal and NJ101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. / (6ABC, NJ101.5/Youtube)

Longtime NJ101.5 talk-show duo Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco have been suspended after repeatedly referring to New Jersey’s attorney general, Gurbir S. Grewal, as “Turban Man” on Wednesday.

Gurbir S. Grewal, who was appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy in January, is the first Sikh American attorney general in the country.

The radio station said in a tweet that the hosts’ comments are under investigation.

“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.”

The hosts of the “Dennis & Judi” midday show were discussing Grewal’s recent decision to suspend court cases for low-level marijuana possession until September while the state wrestles with the idea of legalization. Malloy said he couldn’t remember Grewal’s name, and said, “I’m just going to say the guy with the turban.” The pair referred to him numerous times as “Turban Man” after that.

An audio clip made the rounds on social media in short order.

“Is that highly offensive?” Malloy asks in the clip. “If you called me baseball hat man, and I was in a culture where nobody wore baseball hats […] should I be offended?”

“No,” Franco responded. “I would say no.”

Grewal reacted to the remarks early Thursday on Twitter:

Gov. Phil Murphy responded to the hosts’ comments Wednesday night, calling them “abhorrent and xenophobic.” Murphy said he was “outraged” after hearing the duo’s glib reference to the AG.

Malloy, in the moment, seemed aware that his comment would receive backlash.

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