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David Portnoy

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David Portnoy
Portnoy at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2019
Born
David Scott Portnoy

(1977-03-22) March 22, 1977 (age 47)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Years active2003–present
EmployerBarstool Sports
Spouse
Renee Portnoy
(sep. 2017)
Websitewww.barstoolsports.com

David Scott Portnoy (born March 22, 1977)[1][2][3] is an American businessman and social media personality. He is the founder and owner of sports and popular culture company Barstool Sports.[4]

Early life[edit]

Portnoy grew up in Swampscott, Massachusetts,[2] the son of Michael, a lawyer, and Linda, a high school teacher.[5] He is Jewish.[2][6][7] After attending Swampscott High School, where one of his classmates was ESPN's Todd McShay,[8] Portnoy graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in education.[9] While at Michigan, Portnoy founded thegamblingman.com, a website where he published his sports betting picks.[10]

Career[edit]

Barstool Sports[edit]

After college, Portnoy moved to Boston and began working at Yankee Group, an IT market research firm.[4] In 2004, Portnoy left the Yankee Group and founded Barstool Sports.[4] The early iteration of Barstool was a four-page sports newspaper that Portnoy handed out on subway platforms and street corners in Boston.[11][10] The paper was meant to appeal to young men and rejected political correctness.[10] Early advertisers in the newspaper included offshore betting websites such as partypoker, which was operating in the United States illegally.[10] The contents of the newspaper was originally solely written by Portnoy, but freelance writers, including Todd McShay, joined the paper.[11] At first, the paper struggled, but gained traction in 2004 when Portnoy began placing photos of women in bikinis on the front page of the newspaper.[10] In 2007, Barstool expanded to a blog.[11]

Portnoy gradually cultivated his persona as "El Presidente", a blunt and candid character.[12] His writing was well-received among young men and the publication subsequently became a mainstay of bro culture.[12]

Peter Chernin's The Chernin Group purchased a majority stake of Barstool in January 2016. In 2020, Penn Entertainment purchased a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million, including $135 million in cash and $28 million in Penn non-voting convertible preferred stock. Penn acquired the remainder of the company in February 2023 for $388 million.[13][14][15] Portnoy re-purchased Barstool in August 2023 for one dollar, non-compete agreements in the gambling space, and a clause that if Barstool were to be sold again Penn Entertainment would take 50%.[16]

Pizza reviews[edit]

One Bite Pizza Reviews is an internet show by Portnoy, in which he reviews pizza from restaurants around the world, ranking it on a scale of 0–10. Portnoy began his show with the goal of reviewing every pizza place in Manhattan in 2017. In addition to Portnoy, some reviews feature celebrity guests.[17] Portnoy rarely ranks a pizza above 9.0, but some of those he praised have experienced a transformative growth in popularity, going "viral, becoming a can't-miss attraction for legions of young, loud, and often inebriated Barstool diehards."[18]

In August 2023, Portnoy was involved in an altercation with Charlie Redd, the owner of Dragon Pizza in Somerville, Massachusetts, after criticizing the pizzeria's pizza as "a floppy mess."[19] Portnoy and Redd then entered into an expletive-laden exchange.[19]

Portnoy and Barstool Sports hosted the first One Bite Pizza Festival in September 2023 in Brooklyn, New York.[19]

Politics[edit]

Portnoy identifies as "socially liberal" and "fiscally conservative."[20] Portnoy opposed COVID-19 lockdowns saying "When did this become...'flatten the curve' to 'we have to find a cure or everyone's going to die?'"[21]

In a 2015 blog post, Portnoy said "I am voting for Donald Trump. I don't care if he's a joke. I don't care if he's racist. I don't care if he's sexist. I don't care about any of it. I hope he stays in the race and I hope he wins. Why? Because I love the fact that he is making other politicians squirm. I love the fact he says shit nobody else will say, regardless of how ridiculous it is."[21] In 2020 Portnoy interviewed Trump at The White House. However, in 2022, he said it is "dangerous" to vote for Republicans because they will appoint Justices who are too conservative to the Supreme Court.[20]

Portnoy criticized the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson decision by the Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade.[20] Portnoy said: "To me, this is just pure insanity, pure insanity. We are going backwards in time. We are literally going backwards in time! It makes no sense how anybody thinks it's their right to tell a woman what to do with her body."

2013 Boston mayoral campaign[edit]

In 2013, Portnoy launched an unsuccessful campaign to become the mayor of Boston following the retirement of mayor Thomas Menino.[22] During the race, Portnoy identified as a libertarian.[23] After raising more than $17,000 in campaign contributions, he failed to submit enough nomination signatures to qualify for the ballot.[24]

Personal life[edit]

In January 2017, Portnoy separated from his wife Renee.[25][26] From March 2021 to November 2023, Portnoy dated model Silvana Mojica.[27][28] In 2019, Portnoy claimed that his net worth was around $100 million.[10]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2020, Portnoy donated $500,000 of his own money to the Barstool Fund, a relief effort for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through May 2021, the campaign raised over $39 million for 348 businesses.[29]

In February 2024, Portnoy donated $277,000 to the LifeLine Animal Project, an animal shelter in Atlanta, Georgia. The money was generated from T-shirt, hoodie, and hat sales on the Barstool Sports website themed after Miss Peaches, a dog that Portnoy adopted from the shelter.[30]

After NYPD officer Jonathan Diller was killed while on-duty in March 2024, Portnoy raised upward of $1.5 million for Diller's family, including $750,000 raised through a T-shirt sale on the Barstool Sports website and a $750,000 matching donation from Portnoy.[31]

Anti-union stance[edit]

In 2019, David Portnoy sent out a tweet threatening to fire "on the spot" any employee at his blogging company who sought advice on forming a union. The New York State Department of Labor released a statement saying, "We say no way, no how to intimidation, threats and union busting. It is illegal to take any unfavorable action – including termination – against employees for union-related activities under the National Labor Relations Act. New York is a proud union state." New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez tweeted in response to Portnoy writing, "If you’re a boss tweeting firing threats to employees trying to unionize, you are likely breaking the law & can be sued, in your words, “on the spot.” ALL workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions."[32] Portnoy later agreed to an informal settlement with the National Labor Relations Board where he did not admit guilt but deleted his anti-union tweets. He also released a t-shirt with his face on it which read "Union Buster".[33][34]

Controversial comments[edit]

Critics allege that comments on the site by Portnoy and others normalize rape culture. Comments that have sparked debate include a post on a 2010 blog in which Portnoy said "[E]ven though I never condone rape if you're a size 6 and you're wearing skinny jeans you kind of deserve to be raped right?".[35] When confronted by his statement by Lisa Guerrero of Inside Edition Portnoy stated, "Correct. I stand by that. I think it's a funny joke". Guerrero asked, "Do you know how offensive that is?" to which he responded, "No. I obviously don't".[36]

In 2020, multiple old videos of Portnoy resurfaced that showed him using the N-word or joking about blackface.[37]

Business Insider reported Portnoy to launch multiple "unprovoked, personal attacks online" including making frequent "sexually harassing comments" towards Deadspin's Laura Wagner. Portnoy has defended himself amidst allegations of sexism saying, "I gave two girls their own radio show. We have hired girl after girl — they say it’s a great place to work."[38]

Legal issues[edit]

Portnoy has twice been detained in NFL-related incidents. On May 12, 2015, he was arrested after he and three Barstool employees handcuffed themselves to each other on the floor of NFL headquarters in Manhattan and demanded to speak with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to protest Deflategate;[6][39] he was arrested again in 2019 when he was placed in a holding cell at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a portion of Super Bowl LIII. In the latter incident, he had created fake passes to attend a press event the day prior and was prohibited from attending the game.[40][41]

The National Labor Relations Board investigated Portnoy in 2019 for posts on Twitter on charges that he illegally threatened to fire his workers if they unionized.[42] That December, Portnoy reached an informal settlement with the Board, which required him to delete his threatening tweets and remove any potential anti-union material created by Barstool Sports. The settlement also noted that the Twitter account originally encouraging employees to unionize was actually owned by Barstool in an attempt to out labor organizers.[43][44]

In 2004, Portnoy filed for bankruptcy protection, following large gambling losses.[10] He owed $59,000 to credit card companies and $18,000 to his father.[10] In January 2020, a tax lien for $11,795 was filed against Portnoy by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[10]

Sexual assault allegations[edit]

In November 2021, a Business Insider exposé alleged that Portnoy had engaged in violent and aggressive sexual encounters with three women and that he had filmed the women without their consent.[45] He claimed that the sex was consensual.[46] Portnoy called the article a "hit piece," claiming that Business Insider tried to find evidence of wrongdoing from him for approximately eight months.[47] In early February 2022, more sexual assault and harassment claims by young women were published in a second Business Insider article.[48] After these new allegations were made, Portnoy announced a lawsuit against the publication. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in November 2022.[49][50] Portnoy filed an appeal of the dismissal. In February 2023, he dropped his appeal.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dave Portnoy, Barstool Sports Inc: Profile and Biography". Bloomberg News. Retrieved September 30, 2023. David Scott Portnoy "Dave", President/Founder, Barstool Sports Inc.
  2. ^ a b c Baker, Billy (June 3, 2011). "Here, a Hangout for Trash Talking". The Boston Globe. p. B4. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. ...is Jewish, grew up in Swampscott...He is 34.
  3. ^ @stoolepresident (March 22, 2022). "Today is my birthday" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b c "The Man Behind the 'Bible of Bro Culture'". MSNBC. December 13, 2013.
  5. ^ The Dave Portnoy Origin Story: Promise Big, Deliver Big. Barstool Sports. March 25, 2020. Event occurs at 7:08. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Eil, Philip (July 6, 2015). "Say Hello to the Internet's Biggest Jewish Stars". Jewish Daily Forward.
  7. ^ Farr, Harvey (April 9, 2021). "Local Rabbi Introduces Social Media Star David Portnoy to Tefillin". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
  8. ^ "Former Swampscott Baseball Player Calichman Named Big Blue Head Coach". Wicked Local. March 20, 2013. Archived from the original on December 26, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  9. ^ "Timothy Burroughs: The President of Bros". The Michigan Daily. November 20, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Steel, Emily (November 20, 2022). "Desperate for Growth, Aging Casino Company Embraced 'Degenerate Gambler'". The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b c Francis (March 23, 2017). "Barstool Biographies: Becoming El Pres Pt. 2". Barstool Sports.
  12. ^ a b "The Man Behind the 'Bible of Bro Culture'". MSNBC. December 13, 2013.
  13. ^ Primack, Dan (January 8, 2016). "The Story of How Barstool Sports Got Sold". Fortune.
  14. ^ Palmeri, Christopher; Shaw, Lucas (January 29, 2020). "Barstool Sports to Sell 36% Stake to Penn National Gaming". Bloomberg News.
  15. ^ "Remainder of Barstool Sports bought for $388 million". CBS News. February 18, 2023.
  16. ^ Spangler, Todd (August 9, 2023). "Dave Portnoy Paid $1 (Yes, One Dollar) to Buy Barstool Sports Back From Penn, Which Will Take Up to $850 Million Charge Related to Disposal of the Business". Variety. Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  17. ^ McCormick, Luke (February 9, 2018). "Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy Has Eaten Pizza Daily for Two Years". Men's Journal.
  18. ^ Winkie, Luke (July 23, 2023). "Dave Portnoy's Pizza Mafia". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved July 24, 2023.
  19. ^ a b c Heil, Emily (September 22, 2023). "Pizzerias navigate buzz, backlash around Dave Portnoy's pizza festival". The Washington Post.
  20. ^ a b c "Fuming Barstool Prez: Overturning Roe Is 'Pure Insanity,' Republicans Are 'Too Dangerous'". The Daily Beast. June 24, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  21. ^ a b "How Republicans Became the 'Barstool' Party". Politico. June 20, 2021. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  22. ^ "Barstool Sports Founder in Mayors Race". NECN. February 27, 2014.
  23. ^ "Barstool Sports Founder in Mayors Race". NECN. February 27, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  24. ^ "Boston to face crowded ballot". The Boston Globe. June 14, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  25. ^ Clancy, Kevin (April 20, 2016). "Mailtime featuring The First Lady". Barstool Sports. Retrieved September 30, 2023. The First Lady Renee Portnoy sits down for an hour with your boy KFC to discuss everything from start to finish with Barstool Sports.
  26. ^ Portnoy, David (January 24, 2017). "El Pres State of the Union". Barstool Sports. Retrieved September 30, 2023. Yes I'm separated right now from the First Lady.
  27. ^ Renouf, Taylor (November 30, 2023). "Barstool boss Dave Portnoy breaks silence on devastating break-up with FashionNova ambassador Silvana Mojica". The West Australian. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  28. ^ Lockman, JeanneTyler Moodee (July 29, 2022). "President of Barstool Sports makes visit to Syracuse, rates Varsity Pizza". WSTM.
  29. ^ Conklin, Audrey (December 23, 2020). "Barstool's Dave Portnoy raises nearly $30M for 167 small businesses — and counting". FOXBusiness.
  30. ^ Dean, Hope (February 28, 2024). "Barstool Sports founder donates $277K to Atlanta animal shelter organization". Atlanta News First. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  31. ^ Gentile, Luke (March 28, 2024). "Barstool and Dave Portnoy raise $1.5 million for family of slain NYPD officer". Washington Examiner. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  32. ^ Picchi, Aimee (August 14, 2019). "Barstool Sports' founder says he'll fire unionizing workers--labor officials say "no way"". CBS News. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  33. ^ Wallender, Andrew (January 21, 2020). "Barstool Sports Settles With Labor Board Over Anti-Union Tweets". Bloomberg News. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  34. ^ McNamara, Audrey (January 22, 2020). "Barstool Sports co-founder David Portnoy settles over anti-union tweets". CBS News. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  35. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (March 27, 2012). "Barstool Sports Rape 'Joke' Sparks Blackout Party Backlash". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  36. ^ "INSIDE EDITION Investigates Blackout Parties". Inside Edition. May 4, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  37. ^ Spangler, Todd (June 29, 2020). "Barstool Sports Founder Unapologetic About Using Racist Language in 'Comedy' Videos: 'I'm Uncancellable'". Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
  38. ^ Moses, Lucia (December 18, 2018). "'It's just not fair': Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy defends his site against accusations of toxicity and misogyny". Business Insider. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  39. ^ DeCosta-Klipa, Nik (May 12, 2015). "Barstool Sports employees arrested during sit-in at NFL offices". Boston.com.
  40. ^ "Barstool Sports Stars Banned from Super Bowl Over Fake Press Passes". TMZ. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  41. ^ Prussman, Todd (February 4, 2019). "Video: Barstool Sports honcho David Portnoy hauled out of Super Bowl". Boston Herald. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  42. ^ Porter, Jon (January 22, 2020). "Barstool Sports founder forced to delete tweet threatening to fire union supporters "on the spot"". The Verge.
  43. ^ McNamara, Audrey. "Barstool Sports co-founder David Portnoy settles over anti-union tweets". CBS News. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  44. ^ Wallender, Andrew. "Barstool Sports Settles With Labor Board Over Anti-Union Tweets". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  45. ^ Black, Julia (November 4, 2021). "Young Women Say Sex With Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy Was Frightening". Business Insider. Archived from the original on November 7, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  46. ^ "Dave Portnoy Sues Insider for 'Clickbait Defamation'". February 7, 2022.
  47. ^ Stabile, Angelica (November 9, 2021). "Dave Portnoy blasts Business Insider for 'sensational' hit piece on sex life: 'It's character assassination'". Fox News. Archived from the original on November 9, 2021.
  48. ^ Licea, Julia Black, Melkorka. "3 more women say Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy filmed them without asking during sex". Business Insider. Retrieved March 4, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  49. ^ Barr, Jeremy (February 7, 2022). "Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy sues over sexual assault claims in articles". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  50. ^ Sarnoff, Marisa (November 7, 2022). "Federal Judge Dismisses Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy's Defamation Lawsuit Over Reports of Sexual Misconduct, Violence". Law & Crime. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  51. ^ Hayes, Peter (February 2, 2023). "Barstool Sports Founder Drops Appeal of Insider Defamation Suit". news.bloomberglaw.com. Retrieved May 4, 2023.

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