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Hosts Off Air After Calling Sikh Attorney General 'Turban Man'

'My name, for the record, is Gurbir Grewal,' AG tweets
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 26, 2018 3:40 PM CDT
In this Jan. 16, 2018, file photo, Gurbir Grewal is sworn in before testifying in front of the senate judiciary committee in Trenton, NJ.   (Chris Pedota/The Record via AP, File)

(Newser) – The hosts of a popular New Jersey radio show were off the air Thursday after calling the nation's first Sikh attorney general "turban man"—the latest slur against a career prosecutor who says he faces countless "small indignities and humiliations" no matter how far he rises or how important his position, the AP reports. Gurbir Grewal, who wears a turban and full beard, took to Twitter on Thursday morning to call for an end to "small-minded intolerance" after he was attacked by the hosts of the Dennis & Judi show, a fixture on New Jersey radio for more than 20 years. WKXW-FM hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco uttered the slur on their Wednesday show while talking about Grewal's directive to 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."

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." Officials at the station, New Jersey 101.5, suspended Malloy and Franco indefinitely. "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 tweeted to the station Thursday. Grewal, the son of Indian immigrants, said he's been called a "towel head" and a terrorist, and told to "go back home"—Grewal was born and raised in New Jersey—more times than he can count. "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 the Sikh Coalition's executive director. Gov. Phil Murphy, along with a number of other elected officials, decried the radio hosts' comments, NJ.com reports.

(Read more Sikh stories.)

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