On May 3, Barstool Sports fired host Ben “Mintzy” Mintz after the host used the N-word in a live taping of his morning podcast on Monday while reading rap lyrics. The firing was met with swift defense of Mintz from his co-workers, and criticisms that the media company – built on a culture of harassment, misogyny, and rampant misinformation – had submitted to cancel culture.
Founder Dave Portnoy fumed as he announced the firing in a “Emergency Press Conference” post on Twitter. (Portnoy has his own history of using the slur multiple times in and attacking a Black employee criticizing his use of the word.)
“Bottom line is this, I hate the decision. I don’t agree with the decision” Portnoy declared. He then placed blame for the firing on the corporate culture of PENN Entertainment, the “aging casino company” that completed acquisition of Barstool in February. Portnoy dismissed the use of the N-word as a result of Mintz being “not the brightest bulb to ever come down the pipe” and lamented that it “makes my skin crawl thinking a guy would lose their job on an innocent mistake.”
PENN Entertainment already operates casinos in 20 states, and Portnoy said the firing was due to the parent company’s fear that licenses could be revoked or not rewarded. In multiple states, PENN Entertainment has been stymied by Portnoy’s reckless encouragement of gambling and accusations of sexual misconduct reported by Insider.
Even before his firing, Mintz could have represented liability to PENN Entertainment’s brand due to his connection to right-wing troll and The Blaze host Alex Stein. After Stein stormed the Barstool office under the guise of being upset a former employee trashed Tucker Carlson, Portnoy revealed Mintz was responsible. On December 14, 2022 edition of The Barstool Rundown, Portnoy noted that Mintz “does know the guy” and has been friends with Stein for 15 years.
- Former linebacker and Barstool host Will Compton tweeted, “Legit a sad day about this @BarstoolMintzy stuff. A genuinely good human with a great heart” and claimed the firing was “insane.”
- Co-host of the popular podcast Pardon My Take Dan “Big Cat” Katz posted “Mintzy was a true 1 of 1.” He later added, “Sad Day, Bad Day.”
- Host of the Barstool College Football Show Kayce Smith said, “I know ‘not my Barstool’ is often thrown around as a joke, but what happened with @BarstoolMintzy today is the real epitome of it.”
- Co-host of KFC Radio Kevin “KFC” Clancy said on his podcast, “[Barstool] used to be the place of like, shoot first, ask for forgiveness later. Now, you have to think about things, and maybe tone it down. Yeah man, like, that does suck. What do you want me to tell you? I wish it was back in 2009 where I could use every word I wanted and touch every topic I wanted to be as funny as possible. Nobody gets the luxury of doing that now.”