Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy accused The New York Times of printing a misleading statement claiming he “did not provide answers” to a series of questions related to an unflattering piece about him Sunday.
The Times published a critical article putting a spotlight on Portnoy’s ties to the sports-betting industry, where reporter Emily Steel listed a variety of controversies the Barstool mogul has found himself wrapped up in over the past two decades in what appears to be an attempt to paint him as the wrong person to push legalized sports gambling.
Buried in the negative piece on Portnoy was a disclaimer indicating that Portnoy Barstool and parent company Penn Entertainment, Inc. didn’t provide answers when given a chance to tell their side of the story.
“The Times provided Penn, Barstool and Mr. Portnoy with detailed questions about this article. Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers,” Steel wrote.
The outspoken Portnoy took to Twitter to scold the Times and its reporter, posting a direct message conversation he had with Steel that began last May. “Here is reality,” Portnoy wrote to caption the archived conversation.
The messages indicate that Portnoy contacted Steel six months ago and informed her that he heard she was “trying to dig up dirt” and would “love to sit down and have an on the record conversation” and is “happy to answer any questions” the reporter has.
Steel responded that she would love to chat and suggested she would circle back and get in touch “at some point in the near future.” Portnoy then clarified that he would only sit down with Steel if he could record the interview and use the video as well.
“Will be in touch,” Steel responded.
Nearly two weeks later, Portnoy may have called Steel or the Times directly, because the reporter messaged him again and wrote, “Thanks for calling. As we said previously, we are eager to talk, but not yet at the stage in our reporting on this potential story.”
Portnoy fired back, “I orinally reached out May 10th. Today is the 23rd. You don’t seem very eager to speak. Since then I [have] been contacted by 39 women who have echoed the exact same narrative. You trying to catch them all off guard, asking ‘shady, leading, dishonest’ questions along with more serious accusations about your ethics and line of questioning.”
Portnoy told Steel she was “not trying to separate fact from fiction” and accused her of having a “preconceived narrative” she would dig around until she found enough to report.
“If you have nothing to hide you should have been ‘eager’ to sit down with me 2 weeks ago or ‘eager’ now,” Portnoy wrote.
Steel responded that she disagreed with Portnoy’s characterizations.
It appears several months went by and Steel contacted Portnoy through Twitter direct messages again, to remind him that she sent an email seeking answers to specific questions and would need the answers by the end of the day.
“I saw it. You have so many factual inaccuracies it’s actually laughable. It almost seems like you need me to fact check your own hit piece on me which I won’t do. I offered you the chance to sit down with me 6 months ago. You said you were ‘eager’ to do so and would set it up. That was the 1st of many lies you told. So sorry that I’m not gonna do your job and tell you all the facts you got wrong. It’s below me to even dignify this hatchet job with a response. You are exactly who I knew you were,” Portnoy wrote.
Steel and Portnoy argued back and forth, with the Times reporter eventually offering to meet in New York or talk on the phone. She said Portnoy could record “audio but not video” of the proposed meeting.
“Video and audio or nothing. People can tell quite a bit from body language of who is honest and who is not honest. The interview will have to take place in Miami. You come to me. You’ve had almost a year to speak to me. I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour. You waited until your hit piece was done and now just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even thought you had no interest in the truth and your article is already written. I’m not an idiot, this isn’t my first rodeo,” Portnoy wrote.
Steel responded that she didn’t accept his terms. The article ran and the Times simply told readers that it “provided Penn, Barstool and Mr. Portnoy with detailed questions about this article. Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.”
The Time also included Portnoy’s quote: “You have so many factual inaccuracies it’s actually laughable… It’s below me to even dignify this hatchet job with a response.”
The paper stood by its reporter when asked for comment.
“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. Although he declined to provide any answers, we did include his sentiment in the story itself, despite his claims to the contrary,” a Times spokesperson told Fox News Digital