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New Jersey attorney general responds to ‘turban man’ comment

WKXW-FM radio hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco are receiving heavy criticism for repeatedly referring to Gurbir Grewal, the state's attorney general, as "turban man" on air, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. | Chris Pedota/The Record via AP file photo

TRENTON, N.J. — Two New Jersey radio hosts were kicked off the air after calling the nation’s first Sikh attorney general “turban man.”

Gurbir Grewal tweeted Thursday that it’s “not the first indignity I’ve faced and it probably won’t be the last.”

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. Malloy said he couldn’t remember Grewal’s name and he 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.”

The station, known as New Jersey 101.5, tweeted Thursday that it had suspended the pair indefinitely and was investigating the matter. The station said it would have additional comment.

Neither host has responded to emails seeking comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Gov. Phil Murphy denounced the hosts’ statements, with the Democratic governor saying hate speech “does not belong on our airwaves.”

Grewal addressed the radio duo’s comments on Twitter on Thursday morning, noting he has three daughters “and yesterday, I told them to turn off the radio.” In a follow-up tweet, he added: “It’s time to end the small-minded intolerance.”