Teddy Turner, son of billionaire media mogul Ted Turner and Republican candidate for Congress, said his father’s marriage to Jane Fonda prompted his major left turn.
“I was raised in a different time at the Turner household … a very conservative household with capitalism and all of that kind of stuff,” the younger Turner told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.”
Teddy Turner is running for Congress in South Carolina, where he faces former Gov. Mark Sanford in a Republican primary. His platform includes opposition to taxes and same-sex marriage and he is a global warming skeptic – all positions his father does not share.
“Yes, I’m Teddy Turner,” he said at a recent Republican gathering. “You can’t pick your parents.”
Ted Turner, who founded CNN and once owned the Atlanta Braves, married Fonda in 1991. The actress and workout guru, dubbed ‘Hanoi Jane’ for posing with a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun in a misguided protest against the Vietnam War, apparently had an influence that outlasted their marriage.
“He started becoming more and more environmentalist and then Jane helped move things over as well," Turner told Malzberg. “Then when you start hanging around and everybody you’re hanging around with is liberal, then you tend to move more liberal.’’
In a recent interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Turner quipped that his jet-setting father, one of the biggest landowners in the U.S., figures “he owns a lot of trees so his carbon footprint is pretty limited.”
Despite their political differences, the father and son are close. Teddy Turner told Politico that after his appearance with O’Reilly, he got the following note from his father: “I saw your interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox,” it read, “and I thought you did a great job! I’m really proud of you, and I hope you win. Best of luck. Love, Dad.”
Teddy Turner, a 49-year-old high school teacher, said he – not his father – has always been consistent in his political orientation.
“I’m not a liberal,” he said. “People say how did you separate from your dad? I didn’t separate from my dad. My dad separated from me.”