Dave Portnoy and Barstool Sports have been accused of a lot of things in recent years, being too politically correct usually wasn’t one of them.
But if Barstool has appeared too buttoned up for you in the past, now might be the right time to jump aboard the pirate ship. Earlier this week, Portnoy acquired full ownership of Barstool Sports, purchasing it back from Penn Entertainment for $1. In his first order of business since reacquiring the company he founded two decades ago, Portnoy hired back Ben Mintz. In his second order of business, Portnoy mocked the ability of his employees to make anonymous complaints.
As Portnoy strolled around Barstool’s New York office wondering where all his “brain dead” employees were, he noticed a stack of cards encouraging staff to report any “illegal or unethical activity,” offering a way to do so anonymously. Portnoy, however, won’t tolerate it, not the “illegal or unethical activity” part, but the anonymous reporting of such activity.
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 9, 2023
“You want to publicly narc on someone, you do it on f**king camera,” Portnoy said in a video posted on social media. “No more b**ches. No more f**king this, that. ‘Make a difference?’ Shut the f**k up. You got a problem, you turn the cameras on, you settle it for content.”
Since reacquiring Barstool, Portnoy has touted the “pirate ship” being back, implying his desire to see the brand take full advantage of their new freedom to operate without restrictions. Portnoy revealed previous owner, Penn National was denied gambling licenses because of him, and now recognizes how hard it is for “Barstool to operate in a regulated world, where gambling regulators, the New York Times [and] Business Insider hit pieces, f***ing with the stock price every time did something.”
Mr. Portnoy, 45, rose to fame by capitalizing on misogyny and other offensive behavior. He once said that some women “kind of deserve to be raped.” He wouldn’t remove photos showing a toddler’s penis from his blog until police showed up at his door. He made what he acknowledged were racist statements, including using the N-word repeatedly. He outed women who accused him of sexual misconduct, threatened to fire employees engaged in unionizing and repeatedly incited attacks on his critics.
But without concern of the stock market or gambling regulators, Portnoy appears ready to revert Barstool back to having a more immature management style. The kind of style that mocks the ability of employees to anonymously report illegal activity. This after CEO Erika Ayers and Penn Entertainment attempted to mellow the brand’s salacious reputation in recent years.
Portnoy’s managerial ethics can certainly be questioned, but his business acumen is appearing at an all-time high, selling Barstool to Penn for a total of $551 million only to purchase it back for literal pocket change less than four years later.