TRENTON, N.J. (AP/CBS) – The nation’s first Sikh-American attorney general is responding after two New Jersey radio hosts repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.”
Gurbir Grewal tweeted on Thursday that he’s the 61st attorney general of New Jersey. He wrote: “I’m a Sikh American. I have 3 daughters. And yesterday, I told them to turn off the radio.”
WKXW-FM hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco made the comments Wednesday while discussing Grewal’s recent order to suspend marijuana prosecutions in the state, reports CBS Philly.com.
Malloy reportedly said he couldn’t remember Grewal’s name — and told Franco “I’m just going to say the guy with the turban.” The pair continued to call Grewal “Turban Man” throughout the segment.
Malloy and Franco acknowledged their words might be offensive, but Malloy said “if that offends you then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”
On Thursday evening, the station — known as New Jersey 101.5 — said it suspended the veteran hosts for 10 days.
Malloy and Franco issued a written apology to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Sikh and East Asian communities, writing they are “deeply sorry” for the pain they caused.
The station released the following statement:
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal as well as the Sikh and Asian communities for a series of insensitive comments we made on our show. For 21 years, the Dennis and Judi show has been unscripted and free form. We use humor and sarcasm to make a point and add color to the broadcast; in this instance, we were off the mark. It was a mistake we both deeply regret. We respect all cultures and beliefs and are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the Sikh community, our co-workers and our beloved listeners.
We take these comments seriously and echo Dennis and Judi’s sincere apology to Attorney General Grewal and his family, as well as the Sikh and Asian communities. Dennis and Judi are known for their plainspoken brand of humor, but in this case, the language used was clearly demeaning and inappropriate. New Jersey is a state that is rich in diversity, and our radio station has served as the people’s voice for nearly 30 years. With Dennis and Judi’s help, we will use this incident as a learning moment to further a dialogue of inclusiveness for all residents of our great state.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)