Barstool Sports founder accuses Business Insider of defamation

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BOSTON — Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court in Boston on Monday, accusing the publisher of Business Insider Insider Inc. of knowingly publishing “two false and defamatory statements about life of the famous founder of Barstool Sports”.

The 73-page complaint also accuses Business Insider of timing the release of reports containing “outright fabrication” to the release of earnings reports by Penn National Gaming, which owns a 36% stake in Barstool Sports. Portnoy founded Barstool in Boston in 2003 before moving the company’s headquarters to New York in 2016.

Portnoy, along with representatives from Barstool Sports and Insider Inc., were not immediately available for comment Monday morning. The lawsuit also names Business Insider reporters Julia Black and Melkorka Licea, and their editor, Nicholas Carlson, as defendants.

“The defendants calculated that ‘cancellation’ of Mr. Portnoy would be a lucrative business for Insider. Insider and its staff were prepared to profit from their stories while knowingly ignoring the truth,” the complaint states. “By publishing the false and defamatory stories aimed at destroying Mr. Portnoy’s reputation, Insider sought to bring about the downfall of one of Massachusetts’ best-known entrepreneurs and media personalities.”

Business Insider published the most recent article on February 2 and refers to the first article, which was published on November 4, 2021.

“Over the past ten months, the defendants have engaged in a targeted defamation campaign aimed at destroying Mr. Portnoy’s reputation and increasing Insider’s viewership and subscription revenue,” the suit continues. “Mr. Portnoy has never sexually assaulted anyone, and the defendants are well aware of that fact. which makes it an open season for anyone to make a claim (no matter how vile and baseless) about someone seemingly inconsequential.”

Read the full complaint filed in the United States District Court.


Dave Copeland is Patch’s regional editor for Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island and can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 617-433-7851. Follow him on Twitter (@CopeWrites) and Facebook (/copewrites).

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