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Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur Denies Ex-Employee’s Race-Discrimination Allegations

Cenk Uygur
Flores/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

The Young Turks has been targeted with a racial-discrimination complaint by a former employee — which TYT Network founder and CEO Cenk Uygur has called “baseless.”

Andrew Jones, a black journalist who worked for TYT Network for six months in 2017, filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights claiming that he was treated more harshly than his white colleagues and held to a different standard. Jones alleges he was fired after he refused to sign a severance agreement under which he would agree to not sue TYT Network for racial discrimination.

According to Jones’ complaint, when he raised the issues with Uygur, the CEO told him that complaining about racial bias was a “fireable offense” and that Jones should “shut the fuck up and deal.” The complaint was first reported by BuzzFeed News.

In a statement, Uygur said the comments Jones attributed to him are “completely false.”

“It’s really unfortunate that he has decided to work with a lawyer who has now brought two different, unrelated actions against us,” Uygur said in a statement. “Of course we care a great deal about diversity in the workplace — that is part and parcel of what we do and who we are. We will defend our record and not give in to baseless demands.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Jones worked at TYT Network as a reporter from May-October 2017 based in Brooklyn. He is currently employed as an editor at Vox Media’s SB Nation, and has been a contributor to publications including the Intercept and the U.K.’s Guardian.

TYT Network, a progressive-leaning media company with several YouTube channels covering news and pop culture, last summer raised $20 million in funding from investors including WndrCo, the media investment firm co-founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg.