N.J. radio hosts facing heat over comments called 'hate speech'

Katherine Scott Image
Thursday, July 26, 2018
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N.J. radio hosts facing heat for 'turban man' comments. Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on July 26, 2018.

TRENTON, N.J. -- Two New Jersey radio hosts are receiving heavy criticism and have been taken off the air for repeatedly referring to the state's attorney general as "turban man" on air.

The comments came Wednesday during the midday Dennis and Judi show on radio station New Jersey 101.5.

Hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco were discussing a recent decision by State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Malloy said he couldn't remember Grewal's name and told Franco, "I'm just going to say the guy with the turban."

They referred to him as "turban man" repeatedly in the segment.

At one point, Malloy said, "Listen, if that offends you then don't wear the turban and I'll remember your name."

Grewal is the country's first Sikh-American attorney general.

He tweeted his comments early Thursday morning, ".@nj1015: My name, for the record, is Gurbir Grewal. I'm the 61st Attorney General of NJ. I'm a Sikh American. I have 3 daughters. And yesterday, I told them to turn off the radio."

Grewal followed that with another tweet, saying, "This is not the first indignity I've faced and it probably won't be the last. Sometimes, I endure it alone. Yesterday, all of New Jersey heard it. It's time to end small-minded intolerance. It's an issue I addressed at @APAICS conference this May."

Last December, Grewal explained why he chose a career in public service.

"I wanted to perhaps also show people that while I and others like me may look different or worship differently that we too are committed to this country," Grewal said.

N.J. 101.5 tweeted, "We are aware of the offensive comments made by Dennis and Judi during Wednesday's broadcast. 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."

Governor Phil Murphy also weighed in on Twitter, stating he was "outraged by the abhorrent and xenophobic comments...Hate speech has no place in N.J. and does not belong on our airwaves. Station management must hold the hosts accountable for these intolerant and racist comments."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.