Photo courtesy of Twitter Radio hosts Judi Franco and Dennis Malloy

Archived: Racist DJs Off The Air For 'Turban' Comment

WKXW-FM hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco have been suspended for 10 days on Thursday for calling the nation’s first Sikh attorney general “turban man.” The slur was used to describe New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal while the bigoted pair was on air on Wednesday.

The offensive comment was made as Grewal talked about an initiative for prosecutors to temporarily suspend marijuana prosecutions statewide. Malloy said he couldn’t remember Grewal’s name, telling Franco: “I’m just going to say the guy with the turban.”

The duo refused to refer to him by name, continuously referring to Grewal as “turban man” throughout the segment.

Ironically, Grewal had been invited to give a speech at the corporate office. His staff arrived ahead of him and was allowed in with no issue. Upon his arrival, a security guard told him he “wasn’t on the list” and wouldn’t let him through. Grewal said he spent 15 minutes explaining who he was. He was finally let in and delivered his speech — on diversity and inclusion.

Grewal went to Twitter to express his disappointment.

“These statements against the top law enforcement official in the state of New Jersey are particularly egregious coming from amplified voices of radio hosts, given the prominence of racism and xenophobia against Sikhs across the country,” said Satjeet Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s executive director. Sikhs have a long history of being targeted because of their beards and turbans. They are often targets for bigotry and hate crimes.

In a statement released late Wednesday night, the station said: “We are aware of the offensive comments made by Dennis and Judi during today’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.”

The hosts issued a written apology to the attorney general and the Sikh and East Asian communities, writing they were “deeply sorry” for the pain they caused. The station also apologized and suspended the pair without pay until Aug. 6.

The show has been on the air for over 20 years. Although the radio hosts acknowledged during their broadcast that the term might be derogatory, their listeners protested the station’s decision of suspending the pair.

Even with an apology issued, Malloy said: “If that offends you then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”

Co-worker, long-time friend of the duo and fill-in host Steve Trevelise came to their defense, stating: “I can tell you they’re not racist. They’re just not. Not a racist bone in their body.”

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