The NY Post reports Portnoy has responded to ESPN president John Skipper’s Monday announcement, which revealed the network was removing the show’s weekly TV spot less than a week after its debut, with an eight-minute faux-press conference on Twitter.
In it, the 40-year-old Barstool founder argued ESPN’s change of heart served as an example of the sports companies’ distinct trajectories: an unstable ESPN appears to be floundering, according to Portnoy, while a consistently offending Barstool is thriving.
“For 15 years, people have followed this company. We just talk, shoot the s—t, try to be funny, don’t let PC America get the best of us, and we’ll continue to do that,” Portnoy said at the podium in front of a backdrop littered with the Barstool logo. “That’s why ESPN had to turn to us. ESPN needed us more than we need them.
“Everybody’s saying, ‘ESPN’s not cool. No one’s paying attention to ESPN.’ They’re all paying attention to the Barstools of the world. Why? Because we’re authentic and issues like this don’t happen.”
Portnoy became the face of Barstool’s controversy with ESPN NFL host Samantha Ponder after Ponder surfaced sexist comments that Portnoy had made years prior about her (though Ponder initially blamed “Pardon My Take” and “Barstool Van Talk” co-host Dan “Big Cat” Katz, who laughed along, as Portnoy called her a “slut”).
ESPN supported Ponder’s calling out Barstool on Twitter the day before the show was to air for the first time on ESPN2, but initially defended the partnership because it was built around the show and not “the content of Barstool Sports.”
Emergency Press Conference - El Pres Addresses ESPN pic.twitter.com/GHe9iCUTkQ— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 23, 2017
Portnoy blamed the cancellation on ESPN’s need to cater to its owner, Disney, because, in Portnoy’s estimation, “95 percent of ESPN employees actually like Barstool,” and ESPN knew “who they were getting in business with.”