David Portnoy, founder of the satirical site Barstool Sports, is under fire for racist commentary he and his site have delivered over the years, with Twitter activists highlighting Portnoy and Barstool’s affiliation with NASCAR in order to place pressure on the league to drop him.
Portnoy has previously declared himself to be a “corona ‘truther’” and called White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci “one of the great criminals of our civilization.”
Portnoy has been making some Fox News appearances lately. He appeared on the June 18 edition of Fox Business’ Making Money with Charles Payne, to discuss that he has taken up stock market speculation while the sports leagues are out of commission in the coronavirus pandemic. Portnoy also said that he hoped games are coming back even though “Fauci is trying to scare everybody again” and claimed he expected to take up sports gambling once the games begin. “But to be honest,” he continued, “It’s not very different — they’re both forms of gambling.”
The next day, Portnoy appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show to argue against Fauci’s comment that NFL players would have to live “essentially in a bubble” in order for the NFL season to begin safely.
In the past few days, Twitter account Resist Programming has posted a collection of clips showing Portnoy and others engaging in racist language. Resist Programming first posted a clip of Portnoy using the N-word.
The account ExposeBarstoolRacists also found another example:
In a 2016 commentary on football player Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest during the national anthem, Portnoy declared he was going to “say something that’s racist.”
“When I heard the story — I didn’t read it, I didn’t know why he was sitting there. I was like, ‘Oh, it’s an ISIS guy.’” Portnoy and his fellow commentators then had a discussion about Kaepernick looking like an Arab or Palestinian because he had a “terrorist beard [and] terrorist skin.”
Portnoy also said: “I’d like to actually follow those bloodlines, then, and see if there’s any [Osama] bin Laden in there because … he looks like a bin Laden.”
Portnoy had also tweeted a photo in 2016, now deleted, that depicted Kaepernick’s face photoshopped on bin Laden’s face.
In another infamous example from 2016, then-Fox Sports contributor Emily Austen appeared in a Barstool interview and made disparaging comments about “stingy” Jews, commented on another story by saying that “I didn’t even know Mexicans were that smart,” and said, “You guys know the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.”
ExposeBarstoolRacists also posted a video, originally from 2015, in which Portnoy showed photos of an employee in a blackface who dressed up as Black basketball player Kevin Garnett for Halloween — flanked by two Black friends dressed as Garnett’s teammates Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, to complete the “Big Three” lineup.
“If you do blackface with two black guys, and they’re OK with it, you get a pass. You’re allowed to,” said blogger Kevin Clancy in the video.
When the point was raised that the group of three friends might get separated in a bar or party setting — thus leaving the blackfaced individual alone — blogger Dan Katz added: “You’ve got to put them on a leash and have them next to you the whole time.”
Portnoy responded to this latest wave of controversy on Sunday night, first with a defiant tweet:
In another tweet, Portnoy claimed that a “comedy” site’s video on Kaepernick had been deceptively edited. In the video clip Portnoy posted, he is shown saying about Kaepernick: “He just thinks Black people are being treated unfairly, so he’s making a moral stand. Fine, I didn’t know he was Black. … I don’t hate him — I hated him a lot more when I thought he was a terrorist, I’ll say that.”