On Wednesday, The Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur filed to run for the House of Representatives to replace Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), who resigned after she was accused of sexual impropriety with staffers.
As The Hill reported, “An FEC filing dated Wednesday announces the formation of the ‘Cenk for Congress’ committee, with Uygur listed as the group’s treasurer.” Uygur issued a tweet indicating he was not speaking about the filing publicly, writing, “To all reporters: No comment.”
To all reporters: No comment.
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) November 13, 2019
Whether Uygur can gain support from some members of his party is up for grabs; as The Huffington Post reported in December 2017, the Justice Democrats, which Uygur helped establish, ousted him after sexist blogposts that Uygur wrote in the early 2000’s came to light. The group intended to “support progressive primary challenges against Democratic incumbents in Congress,” HuffPo noted.
Justice Democrats executive director Saikat Chakrabarti, who later served as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff before leaving, stated:
Yesterday, blog posts written by Cenk Uygur and David Koller surfaced in which they both made extremely disturbing and sexist statements. The entire staff and leadership of Justice Democrats was horrified by these posts. After hearing Mr. Uygur’s side of the story and talking with our candidates, our staff came to the swift and unanimous decision to demand Cenk Uygur’s and David Koller’s immediate resignation from their positions at Justice Democrats. The words and conduct in Mr. Uygur and Mr. Koller’s posts degrade what it means to be a Justice Democrat. We do not feel that Mr. Uygur is fit to lead or participate in an organization that truly believes women’s issues and the issues of black and brown people are all of our issues.
After the Wrap published the blog posts, Uygur commented, ““The stuff I wrote back then was really insensitive and ignorant. If you read that today, what I wrote 18 years ago, and you’re offended by it, you’re 100 percent right. And anyone who is subjected to that material, I apologize to. And I deeply regret having written that stuff when I was a different guy.”
Uygur then claimed that he was a conservative when he wrote the posts, stating, “If someone said that today, I would heavily criticize them on the show and rightfully so, and I have. I’ve criticized myself over the years. I had not yet matured and I was still a conservative who thought that stuff was politically incorrect and edgy. When you read it now, it looks really, honestly, ugly. And it’s very uncomfortable to read.”
HuffPo noted, “The Young Turks fired reporter Jordan in November after Chariton was accused of sexual assault by a former employee of his group Truth Against The Machine. Chariton maintains that the sexual encounter was consensual and is suing HuffPost, where an unpaid contributor first lodged the accusation, for $23.5 million
Uygur later explained, “Here’s why we did it: to protect the people that work here and to make sure we have professional employment in place.”
Hill resigned but has defiantly claimed she was a victim, stating, “The forces of revenge by a bitter, jealous man, cyber exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women have combined to push a young woman out of power and say that she doesn’t belong here.”