The Barstool videos have been circulated by the Resist Programming account on Twitter in the past several days, gaining wider attention after The Atlantic contributing writer Jemele Hill tweeted them on Sunday, writing, “This is terrible, but then again, consider the source.”
In a 2016 segment about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, Portnoy says, “So I’m going to say something that’s racist,” explaining he thought Kaepernick was “an ISIS guy… Throw a head wrap on this guy, he’s a terrorist.” Portnoy adds, “He looks like a Bin Laden. That’s not racist.” Barstool’s Kevn “KFC” Clancy comments that Kaepernick “is not really that Black… I don’t think he speaks for Black people.”
Meanwhile, in a tweet by Portnoy from August 2016 (which has since been deleted), Portnoy included a picture of Kaepernick and Osama bin Laden side by side with the caption, “Anybody who disagrees with me saying Kaepernick looks like Bin Laden is a moron. #factsonly.”
Portnoy, in a response to Hill on Sunday night, complained, “What’s terrible is altering and cutting up a comedy sites video and giving no other context.”
In a different clip Portnoy posted from that same 2016 segment, he says about Kaepernick, “He just thinks Black are 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.”
Portnoy also tweeted links to Barstool Sports content that was supportive of Kaepernick, including “Colin Kaepernick Refused to Stand During the Anthem and That’s Ok” and “If You Are Mad That Nike Pulled Their Betsy Ross Flag Sneakers Because Colin Kaepernick Complained About Them Then You Have a Big Dump in Your Pants” (in which Portnoy writes, “I could see how if I were black I wouldn’t love seeing a flag parading around from the colonial era when this country allowed slavery”).
In another resurfaced video, Portnoy chants along to Ja Rule’s “Livin’ It Up,” saying “To all my n—–s I’ve been livin’ it up… It’s going to be hit after hit.” And Portnoy in a 2018 segment recalls how Barstool sales guy Paul Gulczynski went “full blackface” on Halloween as Kevin Garnett with two Black friends. “If you do blackface with two Black guys, and they’re okay with it, you get a pass. You’re allowed to,” Barstool’s Clancy says in response. “You’ve gotta put them on a leash and have them next to you the whole time,” Dan “Big Cat” Katz laughs.
Portnoy responded Sunday night, tweeting, “Memo to the cancel cops. I knew this was coming before you did. And I’m ready. You don’t cancel me. I cancel you.”
“They’ve been trying to cancel me for two decades — I’m uncancellable,” Portnoy says in a video posted with the tweet. “I’m big. You’re little. I cancel you.” He also said, “Go cancel Marbles,” referring to YouTube comedian Jenna Marbles, who last week apologized for her past racist videos and said she would stop producing videos “for now.”
ESPN in 2017 canceled “Barstool Van Talk,” a late-night comedy/interview show on ESPN2, after just a single episode aired. That came after ESPN’s Sam Ponder called out sexist attacks against her by Portnoy and other Barstool staffers (for example, in a 2014 podcast Portnoy called Ponder “a f—ing slut” and suggested she “sex it up and be slutty” on-air).
Portnoy hasn’t specifically responded to the videos in which he used the N-word or joked about blackface. The Barstool founder, who calls himself “El Presidente,” has a history of unapologetically attacking and trolling critics.
Last year, Portnoy’s threats to fire Barstool Sports employees who engaged in union-organizing activity drew criticism, including from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pointed out his behavior was illegal. (Portnoy responded to AOC by disingenuously inviting her to “debate me.”) Portnoy’s tweets also prompted a National Labor Relations Board investigation — which resulted in the Barstooler being forced to delete the tweets and other anti-union content.
This past January, casino operator Penn National Gaming paid $163 million for a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, with previous owner the Chernin Group left with the same percentage stake. Portnoy had sold majority control of Barstool to Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group in 2016.