It’s not exactly news that Barstool Sports is a terrible organization. We’ve covered that extensively in the past because, for some reason, NASCAR thought it would be a good idea to make them a media partner. Last year, it looked like NASCAR had finally come to its senses when it put the deal on pause, but that pause didn’t last long. Now, we have a new report that serves as a great reminder that this awful partnership never should have happened in the first place.
Business Insider’s latest feature focuses on Barstool founder and complete garbage person David Portnoy, including the horrible and sometimes violent way he treats women. The details are hard to stomach, so if you want to click away now, that’s completely understandable. But I’ll also try to avoid quoting any of the parts that are especially explicit.
Multiple women who spoke to Insider shared stories of sexual encounters that may have started consensually but quickly turned more violent and painful than they could handle. One actually tried to run away from him in the middle of it. Another became suicidal and ended up in the hospital.
There’s also another side to Portnoy’s cruelty. The women Insider interviewed all said they felt like they couldn’t speak up about how he treated them due to his long history of encouraging fans to harass anyone who criticizes him or the site. And we’re not just talking about a few mean tweets, either. Death threats and doxing are common, as is targeting friends, family members, and workplaces. They’re even known to show up at people’s houses to harass them in person.
Overall, the article paints a clear picture of a wealthy man who regularly uses his influence to sleep with women who have barely graduated high school, violates their boundaries, and leaves them feeling scared and in a lot of pain. And he’s able to get away with it thanks to his fans’ love of attacking anyone who speaks up.
As explicit as the article was, nothing in there is even remotely surprising. Portnoy’s had a reputation for being an absolute garbage person for years, and the coordinated harassment campaigns have been covered extensively. Anyone who thinks Barstool isn’t trash either knows next to nothing about the site or is a garbage person themselves.
What the article does do is make it more clear than ever that it’s long past time for NASCAR to permanently break off its partnership with Barstool. There are other ways to make money and activate your brand that don’t involve tying your organization to one of the most toxic people and fanbases in the country.
Continuing to partner with that dumpster fire of an organization, especially while Portnoy is still associated with it, is morally indefensible. But NASCAR already knows that. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t care. It would rather alienate women, young people, the LGBTQ community, minorities, and anyone with an ounce of empathy just to earn a quick buck.
But maybe, just maybe, this article might be enough to get NASCAR to do the right thing. At the very least, they need to explain themselves because from here, it’s a bad, bad look.