In response to Thursday’s Business Insider article, which documented three women who had experienced violent, humiliating sex with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, he issued a rambling statement in a video. Portnoy chose to ignore whatever legal advice he received as he talked about allegations from two of the women, and said he “never did anything remotely non-consensual.” He didn’t deny the specific acts the women detailed to reporter Julia Black. Almost as if prompted by some kind of internal memo, a number of people with paychecks coming from Barstool chose to stand up for their boss in his time of need.
Why on Earth would these employees so willingly and so immediately throw themselves in front of Portnoy? Is the money that good? Even so, it’s difficult to understand why they’d do it right away, without hesitation. It’s not like everyone took up a shield. CEO Erika Nardini didn’t say anything, but liked a tweet in support of Portnoy. Eric “PFT Commenter” Sollenberger entirely ignored the news; his brother Roger said more than him. Kevin Clancy made a crack about how his coworkers’ tweets all sounded the same.
The tweets really did have a common thread: I’ve worked at Barstool for X years, I’ve gotten to know Dave Portnoy, and he’s honest. And on top of that, Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I have ever known in my life. Portnoy’s treatment of his employees is irrelevant to how he treats a college-aged woman behind closed doors, but even so, at what times is he honest? Is it when he tells an employee she’ll be too ugly to be on camera in five years? Is it when he tells a different employee to quit if he thinks he’s a racist? Is it when he tells a media reporter he wants to stick his tongue down her throat?
Portnoy’s video evaded many of the facts in the Business Insider article. He said he “didn’t know what would be in it”; Black wrote that she gave him and Barstool’s attorney two additional days to respond in more detail, and they didn’t. He avoided the part where Madison (a pseudonym) said he took video of her, without her consent, performing oral sex. He said the only reason Madison slept on the couch after the one time they had sex, which she described as painful to Black, was because of “a disagreement about life.” He didn’t elaborate beyond that.
“No charges ever have been filed—probably won’t, unless I’m provoking right now—but there’s no way to do it because I’ve never done anything,” Portnoy said toward the end of the clip. That sentence feels like it speaks for itself. You’d think so, anyway, but not for these employees.
Each Portnoy defender tried so hard to speak from the heart, when they should have deferred to their brains. This is bizarre and pathetic:
“It’s actually fucking scary, because people can basically say whatever they want,” Portnoy said in his video. Hours later he was retaliating, as those three women said he would: He baselessly accused Black and Business Insider of conspiring to try and tank his parent company’s stock.