Dave Portnoy, founder and president of Barstool Sports, is no stranger to controversy. Last year, after a Twitter thread highlighted video clips in which he used the N-word, supported a colleague's use of blackface, and said he assumed Colin Kaepernick was Arab and therefore "an ISIS guy," the internet personality with a huge following hit out at "cancel cops," declaring he was "uncancellable," per Variety. But now, the 42-year-old is facing what he says are the most serious allegations yet. Three women told Business Insider that sexual interactions with Portnoy in the summer of 2020 turned "violent and humiliating." Two said Portnoy choked and filmed them without their permission, per Variety.
One woman using the pseudonym Madison said she was 20 when Portnoy invited her to his Nantucket home, filmed her during oral sex, ignored her when she told him it was "too much," and choked her to the point that she couldn't breathe, per NBC News. "I was literally screaming in pain," she said. "I kept trying to get away and he was like, 'Stop running away from me.'" Another woman using the pseudonym Allison said she was a recent high school graduate when Portnoy invited her to his home in July 2020. She said she was "scared" as he choked her during sex and afterwards felt "very preyed on," per the Cut. She was hospitalized with suicidal ideation days later.
Portnoy shared two video responses Thursday, claiming the article was a "hit piece" eight months in the making. "Not the normal hit piece, not the normal stuff about jokes we made, videos we made, things we've done at Barstool. This is far more serious allegations … painting me really as a sexual deviant." But "I've never done anything weird with a girl, ever, never anything remotely nonconsensual," he added. He said Madison never asked him to stop. He said it was "awful" if Allison felt depressed after the encounter. "But she was continually hitting me up to hang out." He also said he assumed she was at least 21 because she suggested meeting at a bar.
"I'm scared because they're asking for more. It's like they’re asking the internet, 'Tell us bad stories about Dave Portnoy'" and "a lot of f---ing people hate me," Portnoy went on. "I guarantee this: they'll never be able to prove anything. Nothing, because nothing's ever happened." Shares of Penn National Gaming, which owns a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, fell more than 20% following the accusations and news that Penn National missed Q3 earnings expectations, per Variety. In a statement, Barstool said it's "not in the business of managing our employees' personal lives … but we take this matter seriously and are monitoring it closely." (Read more sexual misconduct stories.)