In November, Business Insider published a report in which three young women shared details of their sexual encounters with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. The women, who met Portnoy online, said Portnoy subjected them to violent sex that left them humiliated and traumatized, and two said that Portnoy filmed their encounters without asking. On Wednesday evening, Business Insider published a new report, in which three more women, ranging in age from 18 to mid-20s, said Portnoy, now 44, filmed them during sex without asking. One of these women said Portnoy was so violent during sex that he left marks on her body and fractured her rib.
Kayla (a pseudonym assigned to one of the women by Insider to protect her from viciously loyal Barstool fans) said she met Portnoy in 2017 when she was 21. After connecting on Instagram and messaging for a few few weeks, Portnoy invited her over to his New York City apartment where they had sex. Kayla said the sex was more violent than she expected, that Portnoy choked her to the point where she felt frightened, and that towards the end of the encounter she noticed Portnoy holding up his iPhone and recording her. She said she was “startled” by the the aggressive sex but liked the attention from someone famous. So a month later, when Portnoy invited her back to his apartment, she accepted. It was a decision she would come to regret.
According to the report, Kayla took an Uber to Portnoy’s apartment and arrived around 8:30 p.m. From the article:
Early on, Portnoy and Kayla were standing in the hallway of his apartment talking when their conversation turned sexual, she said. Then, Kayla said, Portnoy suddenly slapped her across the face “full force.”
“I was like, ‘What the fuck?'” she said. “It just came out of nowhere. It wasn’t like a light slap.”
Kayla said she was shocked and afraid to speak up. “If he can hit me that hard, I was like, ‘I don’t want to make you mad,'” she recalled.
She started to panic and was overwhelmed with anxiety, she told Insider. “I’m in this guy’s apartment, he’s twice my age, famous, and I felt trapped almost,” she said. She worried that he could become forceful if she tried to leave and figured it was just better to go along with it all.
She ended up with her back on the living-room rug, having sex that she described as very painful. She said she could feel the skin on the small of her back “pulling away” during those moments. She developed a 3-inch-long rug burn.
A photo of the injury is included in the report. After several minutes, Kayla said, they moved to the bedroom, where Portnoy attempted to have have anal sex without her permission. From the article:
“He didn’t ask — he just like, tried to force it in,” she said, adding that she told him “no” three or four times because she “knew it would have been excruciating.”
“I really was trying to convince him, ‘I do not want that, that is absolutely not going to happen,’ but he kept trying,” Kayla said. Eventually, she said, he listened to her and “gave up.”
At one point, Kayla said, Portnoy was behind her and gripped her rib cage so tightly that she felt as if her body “was compressing in on itself.” Kayla believes this was when one of her ribs broke.
Shortly after, Portnoy placed his iPhone on the pillow in front of her. She said she felt too intimidated to ask him to stop recording.
Later, when he showed her the video he’d taken, she realized he’d been filming before she’d seen the phone.
When they were done having sex that night, Portnoy and Kayla went back to the living room to clean up the blood from her back wound.
The next day, Kayla was in pain and was having trouble breathing. She sought medical treatment two weeks later when she returned to college and a doctor diagnosed her with an assumed rib fracture. Kayla spoke to her friends about what happened at the time, and they corroborated her story to Insider, but she said it took her months to fully process what had happened to her. When she did come to terms with it, she was terrified to speak out, knowing Portnoy’s reputation. “It’s Dave Portnoy,” she said in the report. “Everyone kind of knows if you go against him, it never turns out well. He’s basically built his brand around that idea.”
Portnoy and his lawyer, Andrew Brettler, who has represented other famous men accused of sexual misconduct including Chris Noth, Prince Andrew, and Armie Hammer, attempted to silence and discredit the women who spoke to Insider. In January, after Insider reached out to Portnoy about the story, Portnoy tweeted a letter from Brettler about the allegations. The letter doesn’t deny the sexual encounters Kayla described and it acknowledges her rib injury, but maintains the sex was consensual. In the letter, Portnoy denies having ever filmed anyone without permission. Then, Brettler directly sent a letter to Kayla, demanding she retract her statements about Portnoy or risk being sued for defamation. Kayla decided to move forward with telling her story anyhow.
“I know what happened to me, and I know what I experienced,” she told Insider. “I know what I went through, and I remember everything in those encounters so vividly, and I’m just very determined to speak up and share my story and hopefully encourage other women to feel confident to speak up.”
She added that she wanted to support the women who came forward in the first article.
“I have to stand up for these girls,” she said.
Intimidating communications from Portnoy and his lawyer did, however, successfully scare another woman who initially spoke to Insider for this story into silence. “He has humiliated me and I can’t be part of it,” wrote the woman, who was 18 when she first had sex with Portnoy.
Portnoy and Brettler have attempted to discredit Kayla, by arguing that she continued to communicate with him in a sexual nature two years after their last sexual encounter. Business Insider spoke to a B.J. Cling, a clinical and forensic psychologist who specializes in sexualized violence, who explained that it is not uncommon for people, after experiencing a trauma, to remain in touch with those who harmed them.
“By trying to contact the person who hurt you, you’re trying to undo in your own mind what really happened and make it into something else that actually it wasn’t because it feels better,” Cling said.
Another woman told Insider that Portnoy filmed her during sex without asking. She said the sex was rough but consensual throughout, but that she was alarmed and humiliated to find that he was filming her. She also said Portnoy sent her videos of him having “awful” and “degrading” sex with other women, even bragging about the physical injuries he inflicted on one woman.
She said she saw the iPhone filming only when Portnoy yanked her hair back and repositioned his camera to capture her face in the moment. “I felt very anxious and embarrassed,” this woman said, adding that she tried to move her face out of the frame. She told Insider she asked Portnoy to delete the video but couldn’t say for certain whether he did.
She is certain that Portnoy has filmed other women during sex, though. She said he often sent her videos of himself having sex with different women, and she described some of the videos as “so awful” and “so degrading.” Eventually, she said, “I just stopped responding to him.”
In one of the videos viewed by Insider, Portnoy chokes a woman with both hands. One photo he sent, also viewed by Insider, shows a woman’s partially nude body covered in red marks. In an accompanying message, he claimed responsibility for the injuries.
In response to the article, Portnoy has said he will sue Business Insider for defamation.