The founder of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy, revealed direct chats he had with Emily Steel of the New York Times after she had written a piece about his history with gambling and claimed he had declined to respond.
In 2003, Portnoy launched Barstool Sports in Boston as a daily newsletter that he distributed to commuters. He transformed the little newsletters into a blog organization that now offers a large number of podcasts and programs. Penn Entertainment purchased the remaining shares of Barstool Sports for $387 million in 2022 after Portnoy had sold it 36% of the company in 2020.
Steel published a Times article regarding Portnoy’s prior gambling troubles and how, at age 26, he was forced to declare bankruptcy due to his losses. Steel said that Portnoy had no desire to respond to her article on him.
Steel said that “Penn and Barstool officials did not reply to numerous messages.” “Mr. Portnoy did not respond with any details.”
The single statement from Portnoy that appeared in the Times report was, “You have so many factual mistakes it’s simply ridiculous. To even respond to this hatchet job with dignity is beyond me.
After the article was released on Sunday, Portnoy reacted through a Twitter direct message with his protracted exchange with Steel that lasted for more than seven months.
On May 10, Portnoy contacted Steel to try to arrange a meeting concerning the article she was writing about him. He also requested that the meeting be recorded and filmed. Steel contacted Portnoy on May 23 and expressed her “eagerness” for an interview, but he swiftly protested since two weeks had passed with no communication.
Steel contacted Portnoy on Sunday to remind him to respond to the report before the end of the day. Portnoy demanded a face-to-face meeting and refused to respond to emails.
“I noticed. It’s pretty funny how many factual errors you have,” Portnoy wrote. You almost seem to want me to verify the accuracy of your own attack on me, which I won’t do. Six months ago, I gave you the opportunity to have a conversation with me. You said you would arrange it since you were “excited” to do so. The first of many falsehoods you said was that. I apologize for not doing your job and providing you with all the incorrect information. It’s beneath me to even respond to this smear campaign. I had no doubts about who you were.
Portnoy rebuffed Steel’s invitation to meet in New York by requesting both audio and video for the interview. Additionally, because he was in Miami, he wanted Steel to go to Florida for the meeting. Steel refused to utilize the available footage and did not agree to Portnoy’s requirements.
Portnoy was finished with his exchange with Steel.
“Why Emily not?” Portnoy responded to the letter. Why are you both so reluctant to capture audio and video together? Put it to yourself. I’ve been pleading with you to have a conversation with me and clear the air for almost a year now, ever since I learned that you were looking into every aspect of my life. You claimed to be “eager” to talk to me. I was so eager that it took me seven months to hear from you. Once your hit piece, which has changed locations four times, is finished, you appear out of nowhere and demand an answer to every accusation you have made within 72 hours. The majority of them are wildly false and appear to have been taken from a gossip publication or the numerous haters you spoke with. Once more, I’ve offered you my time and my willingness to meet with you, but you seem uncomfortable discussing things in the open with me. That covers all the necessary ground. With you, I’m done.