When he retook full ownership of Barstool Sports back in August, Dave Portnoy drew a line in the sand for freedom of speech.
He is keeping his word to stand against the woke mob at tremendous personal costs.
But Dave Portnoy just told YouTube six words that left jaws on the floor.
Surviving YouTube’s free speech assault
This past Monday, Barstool Sports released the first episode of their new reality show, Surviving Barstool – essentially a spoof of Survivor, only instead of contestants being in the remote wilderness, select Barstool personalities must live inside their company’s headquarters and compete in a week-long competition for $100,000 – and followed it up by releasing the second and third episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
But by Thursday afternoon, Barstool fans hoping to catch up on those first three episodes were stunned when they noticed they had been removed from the company’s YouTube page, where they were supposed to be exclusively available.
It wasn’t long before Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy – who recently made all of Wall Street jealous when he pulled off a move to buy back the company he founded in 2003 for just $1 after selling it for some $600 million – posted one of his patented Emergency Press Conferences to let folks in on what was going down behind the scenes.
According to Portnoy, he had just gotten off a call with Barstool’s Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy & Distribution, Paul Gulczynski, and the company’s point person at YouTube, who was informing Barstool that they were receiving additional “strikes” from the platform for violating its “community guidelines,” and that due to the company’s past “strikes,” unless they censored the first three episodes of Surviving Barstool to YouTube’s liking, Barstool would see its YouTube Channel and nearly 2 million subscribers permanently banned.
Apparently, the YouTube word police took issue with some of the reality show’s language, specifically a heated exchange in one episode in which Kirk Minihane, the host of Barstool Sports’ Kirk Minihane Show and The Case podcasts, butted heads with the show’s host, Barstool personality Jeff D. Lowe, and jokingly said he’d “blow up” his co-workers’ house.
“Alright, real quick, Surviving Barstool update,” Portnoy began his Emergency Press Conference. “If you’re looking for this on YouTube, we had to pull the episodes. I got I call – I don’t know – 25, 30 minutes ago from [Gulczynski] with our YouTube liaison, and YouTube was basically like you’re getting strikes because what, I don’t know, Minihane is threatening to ‘blow up’ Jeff D. Lowe’s house, and who knows. So they’re like, violence, blah, blah, blah.”
Of course, not even two minutes after Minihane made the comment, obviously made in jest, he and Lowe joked about the insanity of the comment, and everyone had a good laugh, knowing it was a completely ridiculous comment that had no basis in reality.
One giant middle finger to YouTube
Nevertheless, despite YouTube giving him the ultimatum that he either censor the content to the woke corporations’ liking or risk having Barstool permanently banned from the platform, Potnoy refused to bend the knee.
Instead, he gave YouTube one big middle finger and told the platform, “I would rather eat my f**king insides and smash my d**k with a hammer” than censor Barstool’s content.
“Listen, I’m not changing the f**king episodes,” Portnoy defiantly declared.”
“I know what’s coming; if they need us to edit that, you got to edit a bunch of s**t – no, no, no. This is Barstool; we’re doing it our f**king way. F**k YouTube if they’re not smart enough to actually watch a reality show and realize what’s going on. Fine, whatever.”
“The show is the f**king show,” he added. “And I would rather eat my f**king insides and smash my d**k with a hammer than have to change the f**king show to make YouTube happy. Someone with a brain can just watch it and be like ‘it’s a reality show, ok, it’s f**king not real.’ Whatever, it is what it is.”
Emergency Press Conference – I Refuse to Edit Surviving Barstool Because YouTube is Stupid pic.twitter.com/0pW8F802Oz
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) November 30, 2023
Portnoy was also sure to specifically mention the fact that the presenting sponsor of Surviving Barstool, Factor 75 – a pre-made meal kit subscription company owned by HelloFresh – has stood by Barstool and its founder every step of the way as they’ve stood for free speech, despite going into the sponsorship on the basis that the show would be seen by a wide audience on YouTube.
Furthermore, Potnoy’s stance against censorship has also served to fortify further the support Barstool employees have for the company’s founder.
“The best boss I’ve ever had”
The morning after his Emergency Press Conference, Portnoy went on the aforementioned Kirk Minihane Show for an interview in which Minihane thanked the Barstool founder for having his and other employees’ backs on free speech.
“I will say this to you – you and I are, I think, pretty good friends,” Minihane began. “I don’t say this to you enough – I said this on [X] yesterday – you’re the best boss I’ve ever had, and jobs I’ve had in the past, people would have made me the scapegoat for this, fairly or unfairly. So I do say, all kidding aside, I deeply appreciate that you’re my boss.”
“Yeah, this was a no-brainer,” Portnoy interjected.
“But no, I want to say it means a lot to me, and you mean a lot to me,” Minihane reiterated. “That’s all; I just want to say that.”
There is a shift happening across the world right now when it comes to free speech.
Those outside the ruling class elite and their media and corporate allies are fed up with the gatekeepers and word police’s woke censorship.
And with influential business leaders like Dave Portnoy taking the lead on drawing a line in the sand on free speech in such a defiant and public manner, it will only add more fuel to that fire.
Read All About It will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.