Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy accused the New York Times of publishing a “hit piece” about his ties to sports betting in order to portray him as a “scumbag.”
The Times ran a story over the weekend that quotes gambling industry watchdogs who accuse the Barstool founder of recklessly advising his fans to wager their “house, kids, [and] family” on a single game.
Portnoy claims that the Gray Lady failed to give him adequate opportunity to comment on a story whose aim was to “build a case against me.”
The Times story noted that Portnoy — who has described himself as a “degenerate gambler” and whose sports betting company, Barstool Sportsbook, is seeking a license to operate in several states — is being scrutinized by regulators who are said to be concerned about allegations of sexual misconduct and misogynistic behavior.
Earlier this month, a federal judge tossed a defamation lawsuit by filed Portnoy against Insider.com after it published a pair of articles detailing sexual encounters he had with several anonymous young women.
Portnoy told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday that he had offered to do a face-to-face interview with the author of the Times story, reporter Emily Steel, seven months ago.
The Times disputes Portnoy’s claims, saying Portnoy was the one who refused to provide comment after the newspaper declined his request to video-record the interview session with Steel.
“More than a week before the article published, we presented Mr. Portnoy with an opportunity to answer detailed questions related to our reporting, which was thorough and fact-based,” a Times spokesperson told The Post.
“Despite our offer, he declined to provide any answers, and has yet to challenge any facts in our reporting.”
Portnoy, however, disputes this.
“When I heard about [Steel’s story back in April], I said, ‘Let’s sit down — open-book. I will answer any question you have,’” Portnoy told Carlson.
“‘I don’t care what your politics are, how you sit — I am the witness of a story you are working on for basically a year and I am saying: “I will sit down with you. You can ask me anything.” I’m not saying, “Lawyers in the room.” Nobody, just me.’”
Portnoy told Carlson that Steel “had no interest” in meeting him despite reminding her weeks later of his offer for a sit-down.
“She went ghost, crickets,” Portnoy said of Steel. “I didn’t hear from her for seven months.”
According to Portnoy, Steel sent him a list of questions just 48 hours before the Times would go on to publish its story about Barstool Sportsbook. Steel said she sent over questions at least seven days before the story ran.
“We want all these answers to all these allegations in 48 hours,” Portnoy said, accusing the Times of “trying to make the case that I’m a scumbag and sway people.”
“[Steel] never had interest in telling the truth,” Portnoy said. “All she wanted to do was build a case against me.”
“She never wanted to hear how we do responsible gaming and training at our company,” Portnoy said.
“It was all a hit piece and she had no interest in hearing my side of the story.”
The Post has sought comment from Steel and the Times.
On Twitter, Steel accused Portnoy of posting a doctored video of their text exchanges.
“I emailed Dave Portnoy a detailed list of questions about my article more than a week before it ran,” Steel tweeted.
“I made multiple attempts to hear his perspective. He posted an edited video about my reporting.”
The Times’ public relations arm released a statement backing Steel.
“Over a week before this story published, we presented Mr. Portnoy an opportunity to answer detailed questions about our reporting, which was thorough and fact-based,” the Times said.
“Although he declined to provide any answers, we included his sentiment in the story itself, despite his claims to the contrary.”
The newspaper added: “The exchange he displays here was captured on Nov. 15 and does not include other, repeated efforts to engage with Mr. Portnoy or our offer to allow him more time to respond, which he ignored.”