Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Dave Portnoy Playbook: Barstool’s founder bets on the culture war.


It’s been a long 48 hours for your boy,” Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, said in an address to his 2.7 million Twitter followers late on a Friday night earlier this month. Portnoy was filming a response to an article published by Business Insider the day before, in which three women described distressing sexual encounters with him. One of the women, who was 20 at the time, said that in the summer of 2020, Portnoy, who was 43, filmed her performing oral sex and choked her without her permission. “It was so rough I felt like I was being raped,” the woman wrote to a friend in a text message two days later, according to Business Insider. “I was literally screaming in pain.”

A second woman, who was 19, said Portnoy had choked her and spit in her mouth. She didn’t describe the encounter as sexual assault but said she “felt very preyed on.” Another woman said Portnoy also choked and filmed her without permission. All three women were given anonymity, fearing retaliation from Portnoy and his followers, both of whom have a reputation for tormenting those who cross him.

For most public figures, this would be a moment to step back. But not for Portnoy. A few hours after the article came out, and apparently against the advice of legal counsel, Portnoy took to social media to deliver his own vigorous defense. He said that the women had approached him and everything had been consensual. He shared screenshots of what he said were Instagram DMs from the second woman in which she apparently reached out and expressed no immediate regret after their encounter.

“Miss my dick yet?” Portnoy wrote back to her.

“Hahahaha of course,” she replied.


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