N J Com – New Jersey radio station hosts suspended for racist rant get training on Sikh religion

Anthony G Attrino – NJ Advance Media

Ewing – New Jersey – USA, 22 August 2018. The two New Jersey radio show hosts suspended after making racist remarks about New Jersey’s attorney general received training about the Sikh religion on Tuesday along with more than two dozen of their fellow co-workers at NJ101.5.

The Sikh Coalition said it met for about 75 minutes with 30 employees from the radio station including hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco. The meeting was held at the radio station’s Ewing offices before the Dennis & Judi show aired Tuesday.

The session educated employees on the Sikh faith and challenges faced by Sikhs in modern America, said Satjeet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition, who led the training.

While on the air July 25, Malloy and Franco referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal as “turban man” and “the guy with the turban.”

“Listen, and if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name,” Malloy said on air.

The remarks drew sharp criticism across social media, with many calling for the hosts to be removed from the air.

“My name, for the record, is Gurbir Grewal,” the attorney general tweeted. “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 did not attend the Sikh session at the station on Tuesday and has publicly said he has moved on from the incident.

Malloy and Franco later apologized and were suspended by the station for 10 days. They are back on the air.

“We had a tough week but I do want to say that we learned a lot this week,” Franco said as the duo returned to their show on 06 August 2018.

In a statement released by the coalition, the station’s owners said they were grateful for Tuesday’s session.

“Townsquare Media exists to entertain, engage and inform our communities. The more we are informed, the more effective in that mission we will be,” said Ron deCastro, market president of NJ101.5.

“As the voice of New Jersey, (the station) values this responsibility deeply and is grateful to the Sikh Coalition for working with us to reinforce our mission,” he said.

Kaur said the coalition worked with Townsquare Media to provide resources on Sikhism and helped show how “media-amplified derogatory language affects Sikhs in a climate in which they are regularly subject to discrimination, harassment and violence.”

“We welcome this important step as we work with NJ 101.5 on workshops, anti-racism trainings, and long-term strategies for growth and education,” Kaur said.

“No person or community deserves ridicule because of how they look or what they believe, and we thank NJ 101.5 for taking these additional measures to reinforce values of inclusivity and diversity,” Kaur said.


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