Updated at 6pm Eastern
On Wednesday, Dennis Molloy and Judi Franco earned much more national exposure the midday talk hosts at Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM “New Jersey 101.5” in Trenton could have bargained for.
A 48-second segment catapulted the duo into the spotlight — and pulled them from the station’s airwaves until Monday, August 6.
Why? A discussion of New Jersey’s Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, turned sour.
As recorded by SoundCloud user Ryan Hutchins here (https://soundcloud.com/user-361967268-103089081/gurbir-grewal-called-turban-man-on-new-jersey-1015), Molloy said:
You know the Attorney General … I’m never going to know his name — I’m just going to say the guy with the turban.
Franco then responded by singing “Turban Man” in the same style as “Trojan Man,” from the longtime radio campaign for the male prophylactic brand Trojan.
Molloy continued: Listen, if that offends you then don’t wear the turban and then I’ll remember your name.
This resulted in giggles from Franco and Molloy, who continued:
Turban man … is that highly offensive?
Franco replied, “To me? No. To people who wear turbans? Could be.”
This led Molloy to say:
If you called me Baseball Hat Man and I was in a culture where nobody wore baseball hats … should I be offended?
Franco would say no.
Molloy continued: The Attorney General, Turban Man, says he’s not going to prosecute pot things until September. All of a sudden you a get free pass on pot.
Grewal was brought up by the hosts because of an order to New Jersey county prosecutors to adjourn all low-level marijuana cases for at least 30 days, Gannett’s NorthJersey.com reports.
The reaction to the on-air comments was swift and widespread, with social media flaring up over what was said on the station. Gov. Phil Murphy called for WKXW to take action against Franco and Molloy.
Late Wednesday, Townsquare Media did.
In response to the on-air dialogue, the company 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.”
Grewal responded on Twitter, saying, “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.”
Townsquare Media is led in part by co-CEO and co-Founder Dhruv Prasad, who is of Indian descent.
Molloy and Franco late Thursday issued an apology.
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal as well as the Sikh and East Asian communities for a series of insensitive comments we made on our show,” they said in a statement released by New Jersey 101.5. “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.”
Addressing the apology and the suspension, WKXW-FM President Ron deCastro added, “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.”
— Additional reporting by Adrian Zupp