Dave Portnoy, the satirical President of Barstool Sports, has made it clear he is not a union guy. Portnoy retweeted this old blog after The Ringer’s staff announced their intentions to form a union. One comment to Portnoy’s tweet really gave this story traction.
Rafi Letzter, a contributor to Live Science, tweeted at Portnoy. Lezter tweeted, “If you work for Barstool and want to have a private conversation about the unionization process, how little power your boss has to stop you, and how you can leverage that power to make your life better: my DM’s are open.”
Portnoy responded, tweeting, “If you work for @barstoolsports and DM this man I will fire you on the spot.” Now this completely serious, and no way sarcastic, “threat” was not taken lightly by the Twitter-sphere. Portnoy’s tweet garnered many responses.
Eric tweeted, “I’ll high five everyone that DM’s @RafiLetzter. Also @USDOL, this scumbag is flagrantly breaking the law.” (After looking through their Twitter, it appears they are not joking.)
No one’s fool (peach emoji) tweeted, “To whom it may concern: I’ve taken a screenshot of this tweet as evidence of illegal retaliation against employees lawfully exercising their labor rights. To be absolutely clear, the threat in this tweet by @stoolpresidente to which I am replying is ILLEGAL.” (After looking over their Twitter, it seems they are also being serious.)
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even tweeted about Portoy’s “threat”. She tweeted, “If you’re a boss tweeting firing threats to employees trying to unionize you are likely breaking the law & can be sued, in your words, ‘on the spot.’ All workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions. See @NLRB & union orgs like @AFLCIO for tips.” (This must be a really important issue for her to take time out of her day to weigh in on.)
Portnoy responded, as only he can with, tweeting, “Hey @aoc, welcome to the thunder dome. Debate me.”
It needs to be pointed out that Portnoy did not follow through on his very serious threat. Big Cat of Barstool Sports posted a screenshot of him direct messaging Letzter. Portnoy managed to control his outrage on not fire him on the spot for this egregious act. Although, Portnoy did take to twitter and compare Big Cat to Fredo Corleone.
As if this story could gain any more moment, Donald Trump Jr. shared his thoughts on the situation. He tweeted, “Picking a fight with @stoolpresidente and @barstoolsports is probably the biggest mistake @AOC has ever made on Twitter.”
Portnoy then responsed to Trump Jr. He tweeted, “When will Alexandria O’CRAZIO Cortez @Aoc learn not to tangle with our countries Presidents? @realDonaldTrump”. (Yes, this actually happened. What a time to be alive.)
After these tweets, Variety contributor Todd Spangler wrote a story on Portnoy’s tweets. He wondered, “Is Portnoy making a ‘joke’ with the union-busting rhetoric, or is he in fact trying to discourage Barstool staffers from contemplating taking any steps to join a union?”
It is always interesting when non-Barstool fans see a story like this. They seem to come from one of two places. They appear to not know anything about the company. When this group sees a blog or a tweet, they take it literal and fail to see that the content is drenched in sarcasm. The second group, who hates Barstool, purposefully ignore the jokes and play it up as if the act is real.
Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones