In the short period between her 2018 election and her sudden resignation earlier this autumn, former California Rep. Katie Hill of California became a minor celebrity among the wonk set, a rising star in the freshman Democratic caucus who wasn’t an extremist or an anti-Semite.
In fact, even in resignation, she’s figured out a way to become a bigger celebrity.
She’s managed to spin a story which should have dealt with an incredibly ill-advised throuple with her husband and a much younger campaign employee — an employee who reportedly called the relationship “toxic” — into a story about “revenge porn.” She’s vowed to keep on fighting against this injustice as long as people will listen, which should be, oh, March.
If Hill had become a celebrity in the year since her election, the man who may end up replacing her on the Democratic side of the ballot in the special election for California’s 25th Congressional District is already a celebrity of sorts: Cenk Uygur. However, a much different kind of improper relationship might end up derailing his chances before his campaign begins in earnest.
In case you’ve heard the name but can’t place it, Uygur is the linebacker-esque founder of The Young Turks, the far-left troupe of YouTube stars best known for their collective on-camera meltdown in November 2016 during those sobering hours for the American left in which it became clear Donald Trump would actually be our president for the next four years.
Uygur would be the biggest name in the jungle primary were it not for George Papadopoulos (yes, that George Papadopoulos) — and unlike Papadopoulos, he’s actually electable. He’s not the best connected member in the field in a traditionally political way — that would be Christy Smith, a state assemblywoman who’s received the endorsement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — but we’re in a brave new world where name can and does trump establishment bona fides.
However, the talk show host already has a few strikes against him. He’s had a few very public meltdowns that didn’t involve Trump’s election, including one at an LAX departure gate and another involving a confrontation with (sigh) Alex Jones. He’s also engaged in Armenian genocide denial and, early in his career, was responsible for penning several pieces of very misogynist claptrap, among other faux pas.
Those are all worrying enough, but it’s one particular clip from his show where he endorsed the legalization of bestiality which, in any sane world, would end his campaign for Congress.
Then again, I’m taking about sane worlds and this seat is in California.
“Here comes the controversial part, the part I shouldn’t say,” Uygur said in the clip from 2013.
“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. You see what I’m saying?”
Nervous laughter is heard behind the cameras and co-host Ana Kasparian was left visibly stunned and disbelieving. Trust me, if you choose to watch the clip, she won’t be alone.
“OK. Why? Why did that happen?” Uygur said, looking around.
Kasparian called it, perhaps not inaccurately, “the dumbest thing” Uygur had ever said. (It has competition, though; more on that later.) He decided to expound upon his defense of interspecies love, talking about a case in which a person was “pleasuring a horse.” This act was apparently, um, successful in its aims.
“So, who got harmed?” Uygur asked.
Pretty much everyone who watches this clip, which we must warn you is even more disgusting, vile, rebarbative and retch-worthy than you’re thinking. Viewer discretion is highly, highly advised. This is one of those instances where you may just want to take our word for it, trust me:
Has Young Turks host (and now California congressional candidate) Cenk Uygur changed his position on sex with animals, or does he still support it? pic.twitter.com/1KwgXRat3o
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) December 14, 2019
Kasparian went on to talk about the fact that individuals who are sexually assaulted can still feel pleasure, which is rather besides the point because … her co-host just seriously lent his approval to legalized bestiality.
Uygur was unbowed.
“If you really ask the horse, ‘did you mind,’ the answer’s gotta to ‘no-o-o,'” he said, shaking his jowls as if he were a neighing equine.
“This is such an awkward conversation,” Kasparian said at the end of the clip, which was no doubt a prelude to a long afternoon at H.R.
Twitter user M. Mendoza Ferrer also posted several other clips of Uygur that weren’t going to get him the right type of attention, including one where he rates how “hot” a woman would have to be for a man to accept persistent offers of oral sex from her, another where he creepily praises the physical attributes of women from the Dominican Republic and another in which he defends a female teacher who had group sex with her students. The thread is here. We warn you again, this is pretty explicit stuff. Viewer discretion is advised.
It actually wasn’t the protection of our animal friends that ended up getting Vermont senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to withdraw his endorsement of Uygur, which had been a huge boon to the the talk show host.
On Friday, after the comments Uygur had made regarding women — as well as other groups — began circulating among pro-Smith Democrats and liberals, Sanders withdrew his endorsement.
“Our movement is bigger than any one person,” he said. “I hear my grass roots supporters who were frustrated and understand their concerns. Cenk today said he is rejecting all endorsements for his campaign, and I retract my endorsement.”
As for the media attention he’s getting over his past statements, Uygur called it “incredibly unfair, driven by the corporate Democrats and to some extent corporate media.”
No one forced him to say any of this, however.
Except for one exceptionally misleading clip that’s been circulating of an interview Uygur did with waste-of-carbon David Duke in which it’s made to appear he like he says Duke isn’t a racist, none of these videos have been denuded of context.
In all of them, Uygur is saying exactly what he meant to say. While there is a jocund element to Uygur’s tale of the horse, he’s not actually being J/K about any of this. This is a man who’s stomach-churningly unfit for office, no matter how famous he may be.
The people of California’s 25th Congressional District deserve better than Katie Hill. They certainly deserve better than Cenk Uygur.
If this is the best the Democrats have to offer, we can only remind voters there that this was, up until last November, a Republican seat. It easily can be again.
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