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Barstool Founder Accused of Sexual Assault

Anti-union Dave Portnoy is accused of having aggressive and rough sex with multiple women

Brian Young's picture
Nov 04, 2021

Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports has always been a controversial figure. He has built a half-a-billion-dollar brand on pushing frat boy culture and proudly being anti-pc. Now the often controversial personality is facing new charges that accuse Portnoy of taking part in violent and humiliating sex with barely legal women.

The investigation, which was part of an eight-month investigation by Business Insider, talked to two dozen people with direct experience dealing with Portnoy and Barstool. This includes eight current or former employees. Some women, as young as 19 who had no professional connection to Portnoy, recounted having sexually explicit online exchanges with him. Three of the women said that they had sex with him and the encounters turned into frightening and humiliating experiences that have taken a toll on their mental health.

Two of the women described to Business Insider how Portnoy choked and filmed them without their permission. Another woman said that after her encounter with the Barstool founder, she became depressed and suicidal. All three asked Business Insider to use fake names for fear of being bullied by the Barstool fanbase known as Stoolies.

According to one of the women, who Business Insider referred to as Madison, was a 20-year-old who slid into Portnoy’s DM’s when she complimented him on one of his pizza reviews. Portnoy began communicating with her, moving off of Instagram and to text and Snapchat. He eventually started sending her videos of him having sex with other women. After some conversations, Portnoy flew Madison first-class to his home in Nantucket. Madison described the trip as “traumatic.”

According to Business Insider, “She arrived at Portnoy's four-bedroom home about 3 p.m., tired enough from her travels that she didn't mind when Portnoy told her they would order in pizza instead of going out. Still, she was surprised to find him nothing like his charismatic online persona. ‘He was very rude. He wasn't funny at all. He just reminded me of a boring, grumpy old man,’ Madison said.”

“After dinner, they started kissing. Madison said she first became uncomfortable when Portnoy pulled out his phone and started filming her — without asking permission — as she performed oral sex on him. ‘I never said anything. I was scared. He was just so mean,’ she said.”

“From there, things escalated until, as Madison put it, ‘I felt like I was just a human sex doll.’”

After two days Madison texted a friend saying "It was so rough I felt like I was being raped he videotaped me and spit in my mouth and choked me so hard I couldn't breathe," she wrote in messages viewed by Insider. "And it hurt and I was literally screaming in pain.’”

She recalled crying and shouting that it was too much and that it hurt her and that she even tried to run away from Portnoy. "It was so painful," Madison said. "I kept trying to get away and he was like, 'Stop running away from me. Stop running away from me.'"

Since her flight was two days later, after this encounter she refused to sleep with Portnoy and instead slept on the couch for the remainder of her trip. The two did not have sex after that encounter.

Another woman named Allision reached out to Portnoy to try and get a coveted invite to his house while she was in Nantucket. She reached out after her sister and her friends didn’t get a response. Instead, they suggested Allision reach out because she was 19 at the time. "They said: 'You should reach out to him, he likes younger girls.' And he completely took the bait," Olivia, Allision’s sister said to Business Insider. "He was much more interested in her than any of my 22-year-old friends."

About a week later Allision would go over to Portnoy’s house to sit by the pool and have watermelon and water. Portnoy then brought her inside where they proceeded to have aggressive sex before he kicked her out. Allision said that although her memory is fuzzy due to the emotional trauma of the situation, she was sure that Portnoy choked her during the encounter. "​​He kept spitting in my mouth, which was really gross," Allison said. "I was kind of scared. I didn't want to disappoint him."

Friends and family of Allision said that after the encounter she was uncharacteristically quiet, describing it to Business Insider as being in shock. "She basically couldn't talk the next day," Allison's mother told Insider. Allision told them that she felt preyed on. Soon after two photos of Allision, a selfie she took with Portnoy, and a picture her friends took of her leaving the house began spreading around Nantucket. Both were posted by her friends on a private Snapchat, but people began to screenshot them and share them widely around the island. In only days Allision was slut-shamed for sleeping with Portnoy. Allision, who was already dealing with depression, became suicidal three days after sex with Portnoy and was admitted to the hospital.

After she was admitted to the hospital, her mother began going through her communications with Portnoy and began the process to file a complaint with the local police. However, fearing bullying from the Stoolies, Allision declined to press charges.

While it seems like both of these encounters began with consent, by the end the women clearly felt taken advantage of and at least in Madison’s case would seem to have rescinded consent part of the way through. Yet, like the petulant man child that he is, Portnoy appears to have not cared continuing and instead continued with his violent sexual encounter.

Since Portnoy burst onto the scene, he became an increasingly polarizing and controversial figure. UCOMM previously reported that Portnoy was brought up on NLRB charges for tweeting out threats to his workers who were considering organizing a union. In 2020 following a controversy about him using the N-word, Portnoy declared himself uncancellable. His site continues to attract big advertisers including Dunkin' Donuts and Coors. He has also partnered with Walmart on a line of frozen pizzas and gained the rights to broadcast the Arizona Bowl from CBS Sports.

However now the company is partially owned by Penn Gaming, a publicly-traded company, and has a female CEO, who has tried to distance the company from the founder and make it more female-friendly so they may not be so willing to have their name trending on Twitter and associated with sexual assault. Time will tell whether Barstool and Penn Gaming take the accusations seriously or if they will continue to allow Portnoy to run rampant.

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