In today’s culture of canceling anyone who doesn’t give into the leftist mob’s every demand, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy stands out as one of the few who remain uncancelable.
Portnoy, who built his fortune with a company known for its utter disregard for political correctness, is now under attack by those who insist politically incorrect statements from years past are reason enough to destroy businesses.
A Twitter account that posts research reported by CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, and The New York Times tweeted a video of Portnoy using the n-word on June 25 with #ExposeBarstoolRacists. After the video gained little traction, the account used the same hashtag when it posted another video Sunday evening in which Portnoy likens Colin Kaepernick’s image to a terrorist.
Jemele Hill, contributing writer for The Atlantic and podcast host with a Twitter following of 1.2 million, retweeted the video and implied that racism is a typical Barstool trait, saying, “consider the source.”
This is terrible, but then again, consider the source. https://t.co/1NzbNXP163
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 28, 2020
Portnoy, however, didn’t respond with the typical solemn apology and admission of guilt. Rather, he struck back, defending himself and criticizing Hill for her irresponsible activism. He repeated the phrase “consider the source” with examples of his support for Kaepernick. Portnoy also accused Hill of intentionally failing to provide context to fit a racist narrative.
“What’s terrible is altering and cutting up a comedy sites video and giving no other context. Why was this part cut out? Oh because it didn’t fit the agenda,” Portnoy said in a tweet.
The trouble for those who seek to cancel someone like Portnoy is that his entire brand was built on going against what others say is acceptable. His refusal to follow in everyone else’s footsteps was just another opportunity to cement his identity as a cultural rebel.
When every other company posted black squares on Instagram for “#blackouttuesday” to protect themselves against the wrath of cancel culture, Portnoy posted a video calling out the idiocy and hypocrisy of such an act.
Although Portnoy is one of the few, he’s in good company. While almost everybody bows to the offended mob, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, and Joe Rogan, host of the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” have also proven to be cancel-proof. Neither apologized or backed down when recent attempts to cancel them over statements they’ve made in the past stirred up controversy.
Rowling didn’t break every publishing record in the U.S. by producing another copy of the same old literary work. Rogan certainly didn’t nab the consistent No. 1 spot on the iTunes charts with a podcast that plays it safe. And Portnoy continues to prove he didn’t build a sports comedy empire by following the crowd.
Less than two hours after Hill tweeted, Portnoy posted a response video to Twitter saying he’s incapable of being canceled.
“They’ve been trying to cancel me for two decades. I’m uncancelable. I’m uncancelable. Go cancel [Jenna] Marbles and have her self-cancel. This guy? Uncancelable. I cancel you! I’m big. You’re little. I cancel you.”
Portnoy further addressed the cancel culture hypocrisy on Instagram, saying that people enjoy Barstool because it’s comedic. It’s their attacks on the company that make people turn to comedic relief to escape the madness of the day.
He added that socially acceptable jokes are always changing, and with a 20-year-old company, jokes of the past are meant to stay in the past. Portnoy admits he wouldn’t say certain things today because of how sensitivities within American culture have changed, and digging up and using old quotes to criticize Barstool doesn’t affect the current discourse.
“I hate to break it to you guys but whenever you try to cancel us and do these movements that pop up every few years, it only makes us stronger.”
Emergency Press Conference – Cancel Culture Is Coming For My Head pic.twitter.com/FS3SCMd0BP
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) June 29, 2020
If anything, these cancellation attempts have helped strengthen the brands of Portnoy and other cancel culture rebels.