This Saturday, Barstool Sports founder and owner Dave Portnoy will host his “One Bite Pizza Fest” in Brooklyn, New York.
On Wednesday, Portnoy received — or rather, generated — some unanticipated publicity for the event when he discovered that Emily Heil of The Washington Post was working on a story about it that he believed to have a negative slant.
Never one to shy away from confrontation, Portnoy proceeded to not only call Heil but post a recording of the call on the social media platform X. During the 11-minute and 49-second video, “El Presidente” confronts Heil over an e-mail she sent to one of the event’s sponsors requesting comment regarding his “history of misogynistic comments and other problematic behavior.”
I Caught Wind That The Washington Post Was Writing A Hit Piece About Me And My Pizzafest So I Did What I Do. I Went on the Offensive pic.twitter.com/5oK2zJqVAs
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) September 20, 2023
Initially confronted about the e-mail, Heil denied painting him in a negative light to advertisers before being confronted by Portnoy — who noted he was recording the call — with one of the messages verbatim. Heil insisted that she was just attempting to reach the unnamed advertiser in a manner that would compel them to engage in an interview.
“I really wanted them to respond and I was hoping to get something from them,” Heil said.
“Do you think that’s fair? I totally disagree with the assertions that you said,” Portnoy replied.
Portnoy proceeded to question Heil on why she seemed to be doing all of the reporting on her story before talking to him. Heil insisted that she and another reporter who was working on the story were planning to reach out as early as Thursday morning.
The bulk of the call consisted of the two going back and forth, with Portnoy questioning Heil’s reporting process and whether he was being given a real opportunity to respond to the reporting. In an unexpected twist, the call actually seemed to end on an amicable note, with Portnoy tentatively agreeing to participate in an interview on Thursday morning on the condition that he could record it, which Heil agreed to.
“PS – I will say that maybe she isn’t as awful as I first thought?” Portnoy wrote in a blog post regarding the encounter. “Although I also sort of backed her into a corner where she had no alternative but to play ball with me. I’ll record tomorrow’s convo as well and see how it goes.”
This isn’t the first time that Portnoy — who bought 100 percent of Barstool Sports back from Penn Entertainment for $1 last month –has gone on the offensive against the media. In recent years, he has publicly accused The New York Times and Insider of writing “hit pieces” about him.