US radio hosts off air after turban jibe

US radio hosts off air after turban jibe

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Gurbir Grewal Image copyright Government handout

Two US radio DJs have been taken off air after calling the nation’s first Sikh state attorney general “turban man” during a segment.

WKXW-FM hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco repeatedly used the term on their show to describe New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

They were discussing a plan by the state’s top law enforcement official to suspend marijuana prosecutions.

Other state politicians quickly rallied to defend Mr Grewal.

In response to Wednesday afternoon’s programme, the prosecutor tweeted: “My name, for the record, is Gurbir Grewal.”

He added: “I’m a Sikh American. I have 3 daughters. And yesterday, I told them to turn off the radio.”

The radio hosts acknowledged during their broadcast that the term might be derogatory.

But Mr Malloy said: “If that offends you then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was among public officials who rallied to Mr Grewal’s defence.

“Station management must now hold the hosts accountable for these intolerant and racist comments,” the Democrat said in a statement.

Image copyright Twitter/ @DennisandJudi

Image caption Radio hosts Judi Franco and Dennis Malloy

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.”

Mr Grewal, 45, who is the son of Indian immigrants, assumed the office of attorney general in January.

On Twitter, he wrote: “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.”