Barstool Sports founder sues Insider, claims ‘clickbait’ stories were an attempt to ‘cancel’ him

The founder of Barstool Sports, David Portnoy, filed a lawsuit Monday against the news outlet Insider, which he said published false articles that he had “violently” sexually assaulted three women.

Mr. Portnoy also named an executive, an editor and two reporters in his lawsuit that he said engaged in a smear campaign in order to generate “clickbait” journalism.

According to the 29-page complaint filed in federal court in Massachusetts where Mr. Portnoy resides, he argued the articles were released on the same day one of his publication’s owners, Penn National Gaming, would make quarterly earnings announcements in an attempt to “cancel” him.

“Insider and its staff were willing to cash in on their stories while knowingly disregarding the truth. 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,” his lawsuit read.

In the court filing, Mr. Portnoy’s attorneys deny their client engaged in any inappropriate conduct with the women

“Insider’s allegations are patently false, and, critically, are belied by the evidence actually in Insider’s possession,” the complaint read, noting the publication refused to correct or retract any of its reports.

Insider published two stories involving Mr. Portnoy using unnamed sources, according to the complaint. One of the articles was titled, “‘I was literally screaming in pain’: Young women say they met Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy for sex and it turned violent and humiliating.”

Henry Blodget, the chief executive officer of Insider named in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit, but a spokesperson for Insider pushed back.

“We stand behind our reporting and will defend the case vigorously,” the Insider spokesperson said.

Mr. Portnoy, an internet celebrity, became well-known for his Barstool Sports publication, blogging about pop culture and sports. 

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