Justice Democrats, a left-wing political action committee running candidates who “don’t take corporate PAC money,” have forced the resignation of their co-founder and host of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur, as well as an associate partner David Koller, over blog posts written in the early 2000s they described as “sexist” and a part of “rape culture,” according to reports and tweets circulated by the organization.
In an exclusive report from The Wrap, Uygur and Koller made several lewd articles, in a somewhat joking tonality, that women were “genetically flawed” because they don’t want to have sex often enough.
In the posts, Uygur claimed that he was “done” dating any woman if he hadn’t felt their breasts by the third date. Koller, meanwhile, talked a big game regarding three teenage girls whom he described as “whores in training” and “literally looking for boys to pick them up.”
“They were around 14–16 and in a few more years will be pretty damn good looking,” he wrote.
In an interview with The Wrap, Uygur apologized for his archived articles that he deleted over a decade ago, the time-frame raising questions as to why news outlets were digging into nearly 20-year-old dirt to disparage the man. I mean, if rape and sexual assault have their own statute of limitations, one should assume edgy articles with gross humor have them as well.
“I don’t stand by them,” Uygur said. “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.”
In a statement last Saturday, Justice Democrats’ executive director Saikat Chakrabarti demanded both of their resignations, announcing they were “deeply disturbed” by the “horrifying” posts.
“The words and conduct in Mr. Uygur and Mr. Koller’s posts degrade what it means to be a Justice Democrat,” wrote Chakrabarti. “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.”
We are deeply disturbed by recent news regarding @cenkuygur & David Koller. Their language and conduct is horrifying and does not reflect our values at Justice Democrats. We would be hypocrites to not act immediately and ask for their resignation. Here is our official statement: pic.twitter.com/WYqawLtuGo— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) December 22, 2017
This is odd when you consider the selective outrage of the Justice Democrats board. Remember, Uygur stated he doesn’t stand by these comments either, apologizing in full in his interview with The Wrap and on his show, The Young Turks. Why this is selective is when you consider the earlier content a show like The Young Turks actually made, such as their reoccurring 2009 segment called “Guess The Camel Toe with Ana Kasparian.”
These segments are still on their YouTube channel as of writing this.
None of the women in these segments consented to their pictures being used and, by their progressive logic, were subjected them to the rape culture in objectification and gawking. Is The Young Turks, by their definition, this rape culture perpetuating show that in the past has disparaged women? Regardless of whether they still make this segment (they do not), Justice Democrats have made it a precedent that past behavior, starting from the understandable horrors of rape to just casual “sexist” posts, must be disavowed and exiled.
For Chakrabarti and company to even enter into politics with this man, known for having a lewd sense of humor, is already hypocrisy on their part. But it goes further. If they were to live by this standard, they would have to refuse to associate with The Young Turks altogether for their past.
But will they? No. Just this Wednesday, West Virginia contender Paula Jean Swearengin had an interview with Uygur himself, and this after the whole “scandal” broke in the media.
This is not the makings of adult principles of maturity or forgiveness, or even the makings of their own progressive values which would require believing people can change. It’s childish to hold varying sets of values so you don’t look “hypocritical,” when in fact, that’s all that’s coming from this issue. As described by liberal activist Carl Benjamin, who previously endorsed Justice Democrats, such actions ring of a “power play” over their (now former) founder they “knocked off.”
The organization then retweeted a statement from Sofie Karasek, a progressive activist for the left-wing organization “End Rape on Campus,” labeling Uygur, who disavowed the 18-year-old comments, of “perpetuating [today’s mordern] rape culture”:
Either you’re perpetuating rape culture or you’re committed to ending it. Thank you @justicedems @LadyL1beration for taking swift action — this is what progressive leadership looks like. https://t.co/UCX0SWWPUX— Sofie Karasek (@SofieRKarasek) December 23, 2017
“Either you’re perpetuating rape culture or you’re committed to ending it,” Karasek wrote. “Thank you @justicedems @LadyL1beration for taking swift action — this is what progressive leadership looks like.” Karasek, aged 22, was only 4 years old when Cenk made these blog posts.
As well as comments made by Black Lives Matter activist, Shaun King:
I'm proud of my friends @JusticeDems for taking this bold stance.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) December 23, 2017
We cannot simply condone the barbarism & ugliness of our political opponents while ignoring that of those in our own community.
This was the right thing to do. https://t.co/yA5Ww4FTyf
“I’m proud of my friends @JusticeDems for taking this bold stance,” King wrote. “We cannot simply condone the barbarism & ugliness of our political opponents while ignoring that of those in our own community. This was the right thing to do.” King, aged 38, would have only been 20 at the time of the posts.
With Uygur and Koller obliging to leave, Kyle Kulinski, another co-founder of Justice Democrats’ and host of the progressive news show Secular Talk, also resigned from the organization, citing he found the decision to be wrong, then making a statement assuring viewers none of the 51 candidates running were aware of the decision.