Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy threatened to sue Vice, claiming the liberal website lied and reported that he mocked a female hockey player who suffered a career-ending injury when he actually helped raise money and awareness for her cause.
Portnoy posted an “emergency press conference” video on social media Wednesday that detailed his side of the situation.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
“I always say, when people attack Barstool Sports that they pull things out of context, they make things up, they lie through their teeth, and then when we call them for it, they’re nowhere to be found. I also say, it’s the same group of small writers who are at the genesis of all of these trash hit pieces,” Portnoy said before singling out a story written by Marisa Ingemi on Wednesday headlined, “National Women’s Hockey League Sighs Deeply, Deals With Barstool Sports,” that was published by Vice.
“People don’t want me mentioning names… no, no, no. If you publicly lie, slander and do everything they do, you’re fair game. Sorry,” Portnoy said.
“So, Marisa Ingemi wrote an article… let me read you a quote Marisa Ingemi wrote. This is in Vice right now. They’ll probably change it and take it down. This is a direct quote, I’m reading it from Vice.com I have the screenshot.”
Portnoy then read the following quote from Ingemi’s report: “On Tuesday night, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy tweeted a video riddled with inaccuracies and mocking the devastating, career-ending injury suffered by Denna Laing in the league’s first season of the league in 2015. (The NWHL honors Laing every year with an award, and her number is retired by the Boston Pride.)”
Portnoy said, “I didn’t do that,” and pointed out that Barstool Sports actually helped raise money for Laing.
Vice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Barstool founder then posted a documentary that Barstool had previously produced about Laing in which she explained her tragic injury. The documentary helped raise money for Laing and she passionately thanked Barstool for its help.
Portnoy said he didn’t want to bring Laing into the beef with Vice but feels he needed to unearth the documentary Barstool made about her to prove that Ingemi lied about him.
“This quote will now be used, I’ll see this now for the next 100 years, ‘Oh, Barstool Sports mocked a girl who got spinal cord injury,’ that’s how these people work,” Portnoy said. Who is Marisa Ingemi? Who is she? Why does that ring a bell? Oh, when we partnered with the Bruins in 2019, and no one gave a f—k, you know who complained to the Bruins and made a story about that? Marisa Ingemi. Same girl.”
Barstool Sports sponsored rally towels during the Boston Bruins’ 2019 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, but some criticized the hockey team for aligning with the polarizing company.
“Same girl, three years later,” Portnoy said. “It’s the same people and you idiots who eat it up… don’t let these people get away with it. Don’t let them get away with their lies and slander.”
Portnoy then predicted that critics of Barstool will write that he “mocked” Denna Laing. He followed up the video with a tweet asking followers if he should sue Vice.
The video that Vice accused Portnoy of mocking Laing was posted on Tuesday when the Barstool founder said the National Women’s Hockey League owed Barstool CEO Erika Nardini an apology amid an ongoing spat.
WARNING THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Portnoy praised Nardini and only mentioned Laing to point out that Barstool helped raise money for her following her devastating injury. He said that Nardini was a huge supporter of the NWHL and defended her amid the feud with the hockey league.
“You probably didn’t know it existed, the only reason I know it existed – don’t let the headlines fool you – is because in 2013 a girl named Denna Laing got a spinal cord injury playing in the Winter Classic in Boston and guess which company drew attention to it and raised $100,000 and brought more attention and more money to the cause? We did,” Portnoy said.
“We’ve supported this league before, this isn’t a new thing.”
Portnoy did not mention Laing for the remainder of the five-minute video.