Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy Sues Insider, Publication Stands by Sex Stories

Posted on: February 8, 2022, 07:29h. 

Last updated on: February 8, 2022, 11:13h.

Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy has filed a lawsuit against Insider and several of its employees in Boston federal court. He is claiming he was defamed and his privacy rights were violated in a series of exposes about his sexcapades with several unnamed young women.

Dave Portnoy discusses the allegations against him in a recent video, above. Portnoy is now suing Insider for defamation. (Image:

The articles were classified as “hit pieces,” and the Insider staff had “malicious intent” in the “smear campaign,” according to the lawsuit. The stories were also labeled as “clickbait journalism,” which the lawsuit explained as suggesting “actual criminal wrongdoing on Mr. Portnoy’s part without further explanation.”

In the suit, Portnoy, 44, challenges several specific published allegations against him, including the alleged violent rape and sexual assault of three women. The suit calls these claims “an outright fabrication.” Portnoy previously said sex was consensual.

Chief Executive Officer Henry Blodget
Insider Chief Executive Officer Henry Blodget, pictured above. He is one of several defendants named in a new lawsuit filed by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. (Image: Insider)

Among the defendants named in the lawsuit are Insider Chief Executive Officer Henry Blodget, reporters Julia Black and Melkorka Licea, and editor Nicholas Carlson. Last week, Portnoy threatened to sue Insider, so the lawsuit was expected.

Portnoy Fires Back

The lawsuit states that the defendants “improperly and knowingly relied upon biased sources who demanded anonymity, all while being in possession of documentary evidence that each source’s story was incredible and unreliable.”

Mr. Portnoy will not stand idly by while Insider and its Twitter army of executives, editors, and reporters attempt to drive clicks, viewership, and subscription revenue for themselves by recklessly spreading malicious and defamatory lies that Mr. Portnoy engaged in egregious criminal conduct by sexually assaulting three women and/or recording them without their knowledge or consent,” the text of the suit state.

Insider and its staff additionally had a “plan to sensationalize a story in order to drive reader traffic to an internet location where they could then be solicited to subscribe to [the] … tabloid-like Publication,” the suit adds.

Publication Dates Coincide with Penn Announcements

It was further claimed the articles were published on a date that coincided with Penn National Gaming’s quarterly earnings announcements, the suit said. Penn National Gaming owns a 36 percent stake in Barstool Sports.

In publishing the false and defamatory stories aimed at destroying Mr. Portnoy’s reputation, Insider sought to cause the downfall of one of Massachusetts’s most well [-] known entrepreneurs and media personalities,” the suit said.

In 2003, Portnoy started publishing a small sports newspaper named Barstool Sports in Milton, Mass. Since then, the publication has turned into “one of the most widely known sports media and pop culture enterprises in the world,” the suit said.

Insider Pledges Vigorous Defense

When reached for comment in response to the lawsuit, Insider spokesman Mario Ruiz told, “We stand behind our reporting and will defend the case vigorously.”

Insider has some 700 staff members. Its publications and programs reach more than 300 million viewers and readers monthly.

One of the key attorneys representing Portnoy, Howard Cooper of Boston-based Todd & Weld, declined further comment on the case. Cooper specializes in high-profile litigation and has handled other defamation cases.