* Founder of the political talk show, The Young Turks
* Co-founder of the Justice Democrats
* Holds conservative Christians in contempt
* Views Republicans as enemies of the poor & vulnerable
* Asserts that “white right-wingers” have long been “savages”
Cenk Uygur was born on March 21, 1970 in Istanbul, Turkey. Raised by secular Muslim parents, he moved with his family to East Brunswick, New Jersey at the age of eight. He later earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania‘s Wharton School of Business in 1992, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1995.
Uygur launched his professional legal career as an associate attorney with several different law firms in New York and Washington, D.C. By the early 2000s, however, his interests had shifted far more heavily to issues related to politics and the media.
Initially identifying as a Republican, Uygur’s political views shifted increasingly leftward with the passage of time. In February 2002, he began hosting a talk show called The Young Turks (TYT), which eventually was broadcast on the Air America Radio network and then moved to an online platform in 2006. That same year, TYT attracted national attention with nearly 100 hours of programming which it called a “live, on-air filibuster” of Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 2007, the program has been co-hosted by Uyghur and fellow leftist Ana Kasparian. Moreover, with the help of financial assistance from wealthy Democrat investors, The Young Turks Network has greatly expanded its offering of leftwing content and programs over the years.
In 2010, Uygur received an award at the annual national convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. In his acceptance speech, he claimed that the “most dangerous of all” religious people are “American fundamentalist Christians” — because “the policies they push are more dangerous.” Uygur further asserted that religious conservatives and members of the Bush administration posed a greater threat to public safety than “witch doctors and the Taliban.” He went on to claim that evangelical leaders did not want “peace in the Middle East” – because of their “asinine beliefs in this ridiculous book [the bible] written centuries ago by a bunch of politicians.”
Uygur hosted a show on MSNBC for less than six months during 2011. Due to internal disputes with network management, however, he was replaced in the 6 p.m. time slot by Al Sharpton.
In June 2011, Uygur offered the following theological interpretation of a Republican proposal to cut government funding for one particular welfare program:
“The House began debating a spending bill today that cuts $833 million from the WIC [Women, Infants & Children] nutrition program, which provides healthy food to low-income women and their children. Appropriations chair Hal Rogers [a Republican congressman from Kentucky] says, quote, ‘this legislation reflects hard decisions to cut lower priority programs, reduce spending in programs that can be scaled back, and target funds where they are needed most.’ So programs for the hungry aren’t a high priority. Well, at least they’re honest about their Republican priorities. Now what was it that Jesus said? ‘Give me your poor and needy, and I’ll go tell them to pound sand.’ That’s at least the Republican vision of Jesus.”
From 2011-2013, Uygur hosted a televised version of The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur on Al Gore’s Current TV.
After Current TV was sold to the Qatar-based media company Al Jazeera in 2013, Al Jazeera’s managers felt that Uygur’s aggressive rhetorical style would be inappropriate for their programming, so they elected not to air TYT.
In 2016, Uygur was an enthusiastic backer of Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign for U.S. President. Uygur subsequently supported the eventual Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, as the “lesser-of-two-evils” alternative to “the insane change that I think Donald Trump would bring.”
After Hillary Clinton’s upset loss to Trump in the 2016 general election, Uygur in early 2017 was one of four co-founders of the “Justice Democrats” (JD), an organization created to initiate a “hostile takeover” of the Democratic Party. JD’s goal was to take control of the party away from powerful establishment figures like the Clintons — and to instead nominate candidates whose agendas were further to the left.
In December 2017, Uygur publicly apologized for derogatory, vulgar comments he had made — primarily about women and sexual practices — in blogs and videos which he had posted online in prior years. Those posts had recently been uncovered and publicized by Jon Levine of The Wrap. Some examples:
(A) In a 1999 commentary, Uygur lamented the lack of sexual activity he was experiencing in Miami:
I live in Miami now. There are an incredible amount of outrageously hot women here. In fact, there are more beautiful women here than any other city I have ever seen. The only problem is that after seeing these girls every day and not being able to have sex with them, after awhile, you begin to lose your mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I hook up a decent amount (defined as: at least make out with a new girl every six to eight weeks and have sex with a steady girl at least once a week), but it seems like there is a sea of tits here, and I am drinking in tiny droplets. I want to dive into the whole god damn ocean.
The waves keep pounding you every night on South Beach, and the more luscious the surf, and the more dry you are, the more insanity sets in….
There are two problems, which I will get into greater detail on later. But for now, suffice it to say, they are: 1. Too many semi-professional whores in Miami. 2. The genes that God gave women.
1. In other places in the US, when I tell girls that I quit law to become a talk show host, they get excited, because it indicates I might actually be an interesting person that has done something unusual, and hence cool, thing with his life. In Miami, it is seen as a clear decrease in earning potential, and is heavily frowned upon. I have never seen girls get so turned off as when I tell a Miami girl I no longer practice law. This reaction is sickening, in its depraved, whorish blatantness.
This happened again on Friday night when I told what seemed to a sweet 5th grade teacher my story. She lost all interest, quickly lost her sweet smile, and literally switched seats so as not to sit next to the man that threw away such good future earning potential.
2. Obviously, the genes of women are flawed. They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as often as needed for the human race to get along peaceably and fruitfully.
(B) In a blog post from 2002, Uygur laid out his “hard and fast rules of dating,” which included the following: “Rule 1: There must be some serious making out by the third date. If I haven’t felt your tits by then, things are not about to last much longer. In fact, if you don’t get back on track by the fourth date, you’re done. Rule 2: There must be orgasm by the fifth date. No, ands, ifs, or buts. If I haven’t unloaded by this time, things are intolerably slow. There will be no sixth date to give you a second chance. If you haven’t delivered by now, you’re done. Rule 3: There must be sex by the second month of dating.”
Uygur said that there were exceptions to the aforementioned rules, “but they all involve orgasms.” “I’ll let you slide if for unseen circumstances we haven’t gotten to see each other much, and you have been providing me with some excellent orgasms in the meanwhile,” he explained, adding that there were “no foreseeable reasons why anyone would slip into the fourth month of dating without sex.” Explaining that he would “much rather go out with a slut than a prude,” Uygur also said: “If you don’t give it up within a normal period of time, you will be eliminated. If you’re excellent in bed, you can extend your stay.”
(C) In a 2013 video that emerged on Twitter from an episode of The Young Turks, Uygur was seen advocating bestiality: “Here comes the controversial part I shouldn’t say. I believe that if I were the benevolent dictator of the world, I would legalize bestiality where you are giving, you are pleasuring the animal.” There was nothing wrong with a scenario where someone might be “pleasuring a horse,” he elaborated, because “who got harmed?”
(D) In another video from 2013, Uygur discussed a rating system which he had devised for women, and he explained what “score” a woman would have to register in order to be worthy of “suck[ing] your dick.”
In light of the nature of the foregoing blog posts and videos, the Justice Democrats announced in 2017 that they were “deeply disturbed” by Uygur’s remarks and promptly expelled him from the organization.
In an effort to defend himself, Uygur claimed that in those earlier times, he had been “a different guy” — far more “conservative” than the man he more recently had become. “I had not yet matured and I was still a conservative who thought that stuff was politically incorrect and edgy,” he stated.
At a left-leaning Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2017, Uygur was the moderator of a panel titled “Choosing the Enemy: Media Narratives on Terrorism.” After Muslim Reform Movement leader Zuhdi Jasser spoke of the need for a “global Islamic reformation” that would embrace tolerance, pursue a secular approach to government, and reject global jihadists seeking to hijack Islam for political purposes, Uygur was angered by Jasser’s “Reformation” analogy. Said the Young Turks host: “People make it seem like Christianity is hunky dory and wonderful reformation…. The Holocaust was what, 70 years ago? It seems like Christianity was monstrous just 70 years ago, way worse than Islam has ever been, than any religion has ever been.” Uygur then proceeded to blame Christians for “killing thirteen million people.”
On November 1, 2018, Steve Warner of the Capital Research Center published a series of articles critiquing Uygur and The Young Turks. In a piece titled “Regressive Bad Faith,” Warner noted that TYT’s audience was approximately 80% male and between 18-34 years old.
During the 2018 midterm elections, Uygur and The Young Turks took credit for the election of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In June 2019, Uygur criticized black conservative commentator Candace Owens for having said the following to Marxist professor Cornel West in a recent debate: “100 years after slavery, the black community was doing better. We were going up, up,up. Then suddenly they socialized our community via welfare policies and the black community started going down, down, down. And you’re sitting here support a candidate [Sen. Bernie Sanders] who is advocating to do that on a larger scale. He’s saying we’re going just going to do it for the black community, we’re going to do it for every community in America. You know his policies do not work. You know that socialism has lead to more deaths than anything else in the last 100 years.”
Said Uygur in response to Owens’ remarks: “[W]hite nationalism … has murdered black people in this country for hundreds of years. It was white supremacy, the idea of that, that drove slavery, Jim Crow, the Klan. Now you have an African-American woman paid to defend white nationalism. That is disgusting…. So the horrible years, where they’re being oppressed against the law and against the constitution, you call ‘the good years’ and then when somebody tries to actually help the African-American community you say, ‘Oh, that’s when things started to go down, down, down.’ I mean, it’s so perverse… I don’t know if she’s just pathetically stupid and doesn’t know any history at all or that she knows the history of how brutal white nationalism and supremacy has been to African-Americans and thinks, ‘I don’t care at all, where’s my money? The only color I see is green. You want me to sell out black people and lie over and over and over again about how wonderful white people were to us as they were lynching us in the South? Great! Where’s my check? I’m in!’”
In November 2019, Uygur announced his plan to run for California’s 25th Congressional District seat to replace the disgraced Democratic Rep. Katie Hill., who had recently resigned amid allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with office and congressional campaign staffers. In December 2019, Bernie Sanders retracted his endorsement of Uygur due to immense backlash from the left over Uygur’s past controversial statements. Uygur was handily defeated in the nonpartisan primary of March 2020, capturing only 5.9% of the vote and losing to eventual Democrat nominee Christy Smith and Republican Congressman Mike Garcia.
In February 2020, Uygur — who had long expressed unwavering support for labor unions — urged his TYT employees not to unionize. Citing his concern that “a unionized workforce would bring new legal and bureaucratic costs that TYT can’t sustain,” Uygur said: “The reality is we’re in a precarious position. We’re in a digital media landscape where almost no one makes money or is sustainable.” “For a smaller digital media company, those are absolutely real considerations,” the TYT founder continued. “It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a union. Everyone should know the full context.”
During coverage of the Democratic presidential primary in March 2020, Uygur joined fellow TYT co-host Ana Kasparian in calling for Bernie Sanders to publicly expose Joe Biden’s obvious “cognitive decline.” Uygur also remarked that he considered Biden to be the lone Democrat who would be unable to defeat Trump in the general election, due to his declining “mental faculties.”
On Super Tuesday in March 2020, Uygur, lamenting the fact that Democratic Party leaders had decided to throw their support behind “establishment candidate” Joe Biden rather than Bernie Sanders in the battle for the Democratic nomination for president, called for “trench warfare” against the Democrat establishment. “It is about to get way, way uglier,” Uygur said. “We’re going to go to war, and a war like you’ve never seen. Because progressives online are not going to go quietly into that good night. They’re not going to be like, ‘Oh, Joe Biden’s senile. We’ll let it go.’ Joe Biden has an awful, awful, awful record on civil rights.”
Condemning the “establishment media” for distorting Biden’s record in their effort to discredit Sanders, Uygur urged leftists to “kick their God-damned asses” — not physically, he took pains to emphasize, but “forcefully.” He then proceeded to guarantee that Sanders would win the nomination.
During the summer of riots that followed the infamous death of George Floyd in May 2020, Uygur was a vocal supporter of the leftwing defund-the-police movement spearheaded by Black Lives Matter. On June 14, 2020 he tweeted: “Let me pick up on what @staceyabrams [Stacey Abrams] just said. #DefundThePolice slogan is being used to divide us. She called for transformation of police, that’s much stronger than just reform but not distracting like defunding. #TransformThePolice is appealing to most people & sounds strong.”
In a similar vein, Uygur tweeted on June 25, 2020: “I’m done. I’m now supporting #DefundThePolice 100%. I already largely agreed with the substance of the argument & now I’m down for the framing, too. There is no reform or transformation that can fix this. We have to start over and completely rebuild policing in this country.”
But by September 2022 – after the defund-the-police approach and other soft-on-crime philosophies had led to a massive nationwide increase in violent crime and homicide, it was no longer politically popular to advocate on behalf of cutting off funds for the police. Seeing the proverbial writing-on-the-wall, Uygur tweeted on September 13: “Will people who came up with ‘Defund the Police’ slogan admit they were wrong? It was wildly counterproductive framing. You don’t speak for the left. And neither do people pushing the counterproductive ‘Abolish Prisons.’ Polls show that almost no one on the left agrees with you.”
After the death of Rush Limbaugh in February 2021, Uygur used his Twitter account to attack those who sought to honor the memory of the conservative radio icon: “The idea that you say artifically [sic] nice things about people after they die is weird. I’ve never understood the logic of it. Rush Limbaugh was a terrible person while he was alive. He made a living by attacking the powerless. His death does not in anyway [sic] change or redeem that.”
During an early December 2021 episode of The Young Turks, Uygur discussed the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who had been fatally shot in February 2020 by two white men in Glynn County, Georgia. The killers, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son Travis, told police that they had pursued Arbery, whom they suspected of having been involved in some recent local burglaries, after they spotted him running through their neighborhood. When the father-and-son team tracked the young man down and confronted him, a fight broke out and the younger McMichael shot and killed Arbery, after Arbery had grabbed McMichael’s shotgun. This tragic incident, Uygur explained, was a manifestation of America’s long and ugly history of racism:
“When they attack Black people after they have been murdered, when they did absolutely nothing wrong, you’re pushing us to the limit… You’re asking us to talk about history. The history of the South. This is in Georgia. What happened in Georgia?
“There were savages in Georgia. They were ancestors of the white right wingers. They were absolute savages! They murdered people, they lynched people, they raped people, they enslaved people. They took babies from their mothers and sold them as property! You want to talk about savages? Your ancestors were the biggest savages the world has ever seen!
“So don’t you dare, don’t you dare call a Black man a savage after you murdered him. I’m so sick of African Americans being called violent when the world’s worst violence was done to them, not by them! Not by them!….The white right wingers of the South have hundreds of years of history of being savages, savages!”
At 10:22 p.m. on January 21, 2023 in Monterey Park, California, a gunman walked into a ballroom dance studio where Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations were in progress, and he killed 10 people while injuring 10 others; all 20 of the victims were Asian. Even before police had released any information about the suspect’s identity, Uygur was quick to attribute the atrocity to an alleged scourge of white supremacy and anti-Asian hate. He tweeted: “My wife used to work at Monterey Park where the mass shooting took place. No one is safe. Republicans are constantly spreading fear about immigrants, crime and drag queens, but the number one thing that makes us and our children unsafe is their [Republicans’] favorite thing in the world – guns.”
The following day, it was reported that the perpetrator was Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old Asian man whose motive was related to a domestic dispute.