Barstool Sports founder Portnoy sues insider over posts alleging ‘violent’ sexual behavior

Topline

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy sued Insider for defamation on Monday, after the digital outlet published a pair of stories in which several women accused Portnoy – a brash and controversial figure – of “violent and humiliating” sexual experiences. .

Highlights

Portnoy’s lawsuit was filed in federal court in Boston.

The lawsuit targets articles published by Insider in November and February that cite several women who said Portnoy filmed them having sex without permission and acted violently.

Insider reported that the women said their encounters with Portnoy started out consensual, but several said the experience “became violent and scary beyond what they would have accepted if asked.” according to Insider.

Portnoy accused Insider of “knowingly ignoring the truth”: His lawsuit claims that Insider’s stories insinuated that Portnoy had non-consensual sex, which he says is untrue, and cited the fact that some of the accusers remained in contact with Portnoy thereafter.

Before suing Insider, Portnoy’s attorney insisted the encounters were consensual and denied surreptitiously filming anyone, in a letter tweeted by Portnoy.

An Insider spokesperson said Forbes in a statement, the publication stands by its reporting and “will vigorously defend the case,” while Portnoy’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, did not comment further. Forbesand Barstool Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Surprising fact

Portnoy’s lawsuit noted that both Insider stories were published within a day of Penn National Gaming, a casino operator that owns 36% of Barstool Sports, publishing its quarterly earnings reports, a trend that , according to him, was no coincidence. The Insider spokesperson said Forbes the outlet “didn’t time our story around their earnings.”

Key context

A Massachusetts native, Portnoy founded Barstool Sports in the early 2000s. The blogging company quickly gained a reputation for its irreverent and sometimes crude coverage of sports and pop culture, and for hosting rowdy parties for college students. . Investor Peter Chernin’s company bought a majority stake in the company six years ago, and Penn National Gaming also acquired a stake in 2020, valuing Barstool at $450 million. But both Portnoy and Barstool have courted controversy. He joked in 2012 that sexual assaults against unwitting women were a “grey area” (he later told the boston globe he didn’t want to make fun of rape victims), ESPN canceled a partnership with Barstool Sports after ESPN reporter Sam Ponder reported offensive comments directed at her by Barstool staffers, and some critics say they faced often misogynistic hatred from Barstool fans. after denouncing Portnoy.

Tangent

Several other high-profile figures have attempted to sue the media in recent years, with mixed results. President Donald Trump’s 2020 libel lawsuit against the New York Times and CNN were thrown out by federal judges, and a judge dismissed attorney and Trump opponent Michael Avenatti’s lawsuit against Fox News last year, though Sarah Palin’s libel suit against the Time make the trial Last week. It is often difficult for public figures to win libel suits against news outlets because, according to New York Times v. Sullivan of the 1964 Supreme Court, they generally must prove that a publisher knowingly printed false statements or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.

Amanda J. Marsh