Andrew Jerell Jones, a black journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian and the Intercept, alleges that Young Turks founder and CEO Cenk Uygur told him complaining about racial biases within the company was a “fireable offense” and that he should “shut the fuck up and deal.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Uygur said, “The quotes attributed to me in the workplace are completely false.”
The complaint, filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights, alleges that Jones, unlike his white colleagues, dealt with shifting expectations, unclear deadlines, and a lack of a travel budget for investigative stories. Jones said that he complained to executives that his boss, Jonathan Larsen, treated other reporters in the “TYT Investigates” group less harshly and that he faced improper charges of insubordination and poor performance.
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In recent weeks, the Young Turks has come under fire for racist and sexist writing in its past. In December, The Wrap uncovered old blog posts where Uygur wrote demeaning and sexist entries about women and dating. Uygur apologized and called his writings from the early 2000s “insensitive and ignorant.” The Wrap also discovered a 2004 blog post from David Koller, one of the founders of TYT, where he describes seeing “po’ black people just hanging out in the heat” on a road trip through Memphis. “I mean these negros were the real deal,” Koller wrote. Justice Democrats, a progressive group, cut ties with Uygur and Koller.