By: Ellen Cans
Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy accused the New York Times of publishing a “hit piece” about his ties to sports betting, to make him seem like a “scumbag.”
As reported by the NY Post, over the weekend, the Times ran an article which quotes gambling industry watchdogs who point a finger at Portnoy, saying he recklessly advises his fans to wager their “house, kids, [and] family” to bet on a game. His sports betting company, Barstool Sportsbook, is seeking a license to operate in a couple of added states. The Times story added that Portnoy, who is a self-proclaimed “degenerate gambler”, is being probed by regulators who are concerned about allegations of sexual misconduct.
Portnoy spoke out in response to the Times article, saying the piece aimed to “build a case against me,” without offering him the opportunity to tell his side. On Monday, Portnoy told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he had offered the Times to do a face-to-face interview, with the story’s writer reporter Emily Steel, seven months ago. The Times disputes that claim, saying he refused to provide comment after the newspaper declined his request to video-record the interview session with Steel. “More than a week before the article published, we presented Mr. Portnoy with an opportunity to answer detailed questions related to our reporting, which was thorough and fact-based,” a Times spokesperson told The Post. “Despite our offer, he declined to provide any answers, and has yet to challenge any facts in our reporting.”
Portnoy disputed this. “When I heard about [Steel’s story back in April], I said, ‘Let’s sit down — open-book. I will answer any question you have,’” Portnoy told Carlson during the interview on Monday. “‘I don’t care what your politics are, how you sit — I am the witness of a story you are working on for basically a year and I am saying: “I will sit down with you. You can ask me anything.” I’m not saying, “Lawyers in the room.” Nobody, just me.’”
“She never wanted to hear how we do responsible gaming and training at our company,” Portnoy told Carlson, regarding Steel. “It was all a hit piece and she had no interest in hearing my side of the story.” He added, “I didn’t hear from her for seven months.” He said Steel finally sent over questions in the last 48 hours before publishing the story. “We want all these answers to all these allegations in 48 hours,” Portnoy said, accusing the Times of “trying to make the case that I’m a scumbag and sway people.” Steel responded on Twitter saying she gave him at least seven days to respond to a list of questions.
This isn’t the first newspaper Portnoy has gone up against. The 45-year-old internet personality was allegedly accused of sexual misconduct and assault by three women. Thereafter, he suedInsider.com after it published two articles detailing alleged sexual encounters he had with several anonymous young ladies. Earlier this month, Chief U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor dismissed his defamation lawsuit filed against the digital outlet, saying that Portnoy hadn’t provided enough evidence showing the media company had wrongful intentions in making the claims. Portnoy had complained against the ruling, saying the federal judge expected him to prove that Insider.com had “actual malice” against him when writing the stories.