Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy is digging his heels in after videos circulated in which he used racist language, including the n-word.
“I’m un-cancellable,” he said in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday. “You don’t cancel me, I cancel you!”
Portnoy was responding to a 2016 Barstool video clip recently reposted by the Twitter account Resist Programming, in which Portnoy took aim at Colin Kaepernick, a football player who made headlines for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police violence — and still doesn’t have a job because of the backlash.
Portnoy said that when he saw Kaepernick kneeling, he thought he was “an ISIS guy.”
“Throw a head wrap on him, and he’s a terrorist,” he continued. “I thought he had some terrorist, Arab, Arabic theology.”
Before you ask, yes there were two other men in this segment, and yes, they both seemed to think all of this was fine. Apparently they agreed with the reasoning Portnoy offered before embarking on the ISIS rant: “I don’t think if you think something and don’t say or act upon it, you could be called a racist.”
Except, in this case, he very much did say it.
After Resist Programming resurfaced the video, Portnoy defended himself, saying it was taken out of context and mentioning instances in which he defended Kaepernick. But a recently created Twitter account called Expose Barstool Racists quickly clapped back, sharing a video of Portnoy singing along to a song by rapper Ja Rule whose lyrics included the n-word.
Portnoy founded Barstool Sports in 2003 and grew it into a thriving online blog that provides sports coverage and lighter fare such as “Horniest Man Alive Logs on to Twitter and Ranks the Top 370 Porn Stars of All Time.” He’s been accused by some, including the Daily Beast, of cultivating a “culture of online hate” by aggressively attacking critics on social media and encouraging fans to do the same. In an episode of HBO’s “Real Sports,” reporter Soledad O’Brien said that when she tried to interview over a dozen female Barstool Sports employees about their experiences almost all declined, citing fear of “rape threats.”
Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.