After three women detailed Portnoy’s alleged pattern of engaging in violent acts without consent, the Barstool Sports founder denied their claims and said each sexual encounter with his accusers was fully consensual.
Barstool Takes Monetary Hit Following Allegations
The stock for Penn National Gaming, the parent company of Barstool Sports, fell as much as 21% Thursday after Insider published allegations from several women about violent sexual encounters with Barstool’s founder, Dave Portnoy.
In total, that meant a loss of as much as $2.69 billion in valuation at one point.
Insider‘s exposé featured three young women who detailed how they felt frightened and humiliated after having sex with Portnoy. In all three cases, the women — who were as young as 19 and 20 at the time of the alleged encounters — said Portnoy aggressively choked them during sex without permission. Two of the women also claimed Portnoy recorded them during sex without asking.
The hit to Penn National likely wasn’t just due to the controversy surrounding Portnoy. It also came after the company missed third-quarter earnings expectations. Friday morning, Penn National’s stock was performing slightly better, trading at around $63 — still 14% lower than where it had been prior to plummeting.
In a 12-minute video published Thursday, Portnoy denied that the encounters were anything less than consensual.
“At no point did she ask me to stop,” Portnoy said of one of the women, who went by the pseudonym Madison in the Insider piece. “At no point did either of us think something unseemly happened. There was no weirdness after. It was a totally fine normal interaction. Sexual — 100% consensual… I’m telling you now, her version of events is not true on our hookup.”
What Madison Told Insider
Portnoy’s account differs drastically from the description Madison gave to Insider.
According to Madison, she first sent Portnoy a direct message on Instagram, but after he responded, the two soon moved communications to Snapchat, where she said Portnoy began showing her graphic videos of women he’d slept with. At the time, Madison was 20 and Portnoy was 43.
Insider reporter Julia Black, who said on Twitter that she spent eight months writing and researching this story, also noted that other messages between the two showed Portnoy asking Madison about her sexual fantasies, to which she revealed a rape fantasy.
“You and I are going to get along so well,” Portnoy said in the messages reviewed by Black.
Eventually, Portnoy allegedly flew Madison to his Nantucket home first-class for two nights; however, when she got there, Madison said she found him to be “very rude” and not funny, saying, “He just reminded me of a boring, grumpy old man.”
Nonetheless, Madison told the outlet that the two later began making out. As the situation escalated, Madison said she began performing oral sex on Portnoy. That’s when she said things began to take a turn for the worse, recalling how Portnoy suddenly began filming her without her permission.
“I never said anything,” she told Insider. “I was scared. He was just so mean.”
From there, Madison claimed Portnoy was so rough during sex that it felt like she was being raped, later telling a friend he choked her so hard she couldn’t breathe.
“I was literally screaming in pain,” she told the friend in text messages published by Insider.
During the encounter, Madison reportedly yelled out, “Too much! Too much!” and “It hurts!”
According to Madison, the two did not have sex again, and she slept on Portnoy’s couch for both nights of her stay.
In addition to denying her version of events in his response, Portnoy further attempted to diffuse the situation by claiming the two were “like oil and vinegar.” He added that Madison slept on the couch not as a result of their sexual encounter but because the two didn’t see the world in the same way.
“My recollection is she was still interested in hooking up and I was like this just isn’t working,” he said. “We don’t get along.”
“If what she’s telling that she didn’t enjoy the experience is true, I had no idea and that’s horrible and I never want to feel that way, but if there was a hidden camera in that room, and it wasn’t a he-said/she-said, and someone saw the interaction, there would be absolutely nothing there. I promise you. I’ve never lied.”
Earlier this year, Portnoy faced a similar controversy for being violent in bed after a leaked video showed him aggressively choking a woman with a collar and leash. While both Portnoy and the woman claimed the encounter was consensual, the situation generated enough backlash that investors began pulling out Penn National, causing significant losses.
Allegations From Allison
While the accusations from the second woman are only briefly touched upon and never given much detail outside of her claiming she was also choked and filmed without her permission, the third woman featured in the explosive report claimed she became suicidal after her encounter with Portnoy.
That woman, a Nantucket local who goes by Allison in the Insider piece and who was 19 at the time, said she first went over to Portnoy’s house after being pressured by her friends.
While sitting by the pool, she claimed she and Portnoy started talking, but he very quickly stopped the conversation and began kissing her before leading her up to his bedroom.
Allison refrained from telling Insider many of the specifics of the sexual encounter; however, like the other two women, she did note that Portnoy began choking her at one point without her consent.
She added that after the sex ended, Portnoy immediately kicked her out and she left feeling very overwhelmed. That feeling would only intensify for her in the following days as photos of her at Portnoy’s house began spreading across Nantucket. Soon, people began to piece together that the two had engaged in sex.
“I guess it was kind of my breaking point,” Allison said, noting that she became hospitalized while suicidal.
Eventually, Allison’s mom also learned of the incident and approached the police about taking action by sending officers to stake out his house. Despite her mother’s anger, Allison refused to press charges, telling Insider that she doesn’t feel like the encounter was sexual assault and that she didn’t want him to drag her name through the mud. In fact, all three women have said they’ve been afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation from both Portnoy and his fan base.
Still, Allison added that she “felt very preyed on” and deeply disturbed by the sexual encounter.
In his response, Portnoy said he was never contacted by authorities after Allison’s mom reached out to the police.
“I’ve never done anything that’s remotely, you know, not consensual,” he said. “So this story is total news to me. This mother is saying there’s parties in Nantucket. If you put [out] a police car, you’ll see girls getting dropped off all the time. Totally false. I never have people at my house. Rarely. I hate people at my house. I want to go to bed early.”
While Portnoy added that he feels bad if their interactions made Allison depressed, he also shared alleged messages they exchanged where she seemed to speak positively about having sex or wanting to have sex with him.
“They’re saying she was so depressed by me, suicidal almost, but she was continually hitting me up to hang out,” he said. “And it was the mother who found the DMs, and maybe she’s ashamed. I don’t know. I’m telling you the truth.”
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Box Office Mojo) (New York Times)
Senators Introduce Legislation Requiring Radios to Pay Royalties to Artists
Sen. Padilla argued the bill is necessary to give artists the “dignity and respect they deserve.”
The American Music Fairness Act
Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act to the Senate on Thursday, a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers and rights holders.
The bill was previously introduced to the House last year. According to a release, the United States is the only democratic country where artists are not compensated for their music’s use on AM or FM radio. While songwriters and publishers receive payment, these stations have never been required to give a slice of the pie to performers and copyright holders.
On streaming and satellite radio, however, both groups receive royalty payments.
In a statement, Padilla said it is time the country starts treating “our musical artists with the dignity and respect they deserve for the music they produce and we enjoy every day.”
“California’s artists have played a pivotal role in enriching and diversifying our country’s music scene,” he added. “That is why passing the American Music Fairness Act is so important.”
“From Beale Street to Music Row to the hills of East Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s songwriters have undeniably made their mark,” Blackburn echoed. “Tennessee’s creators deserve to be compensated for their work. This legislation will ensure that they receive fair payment and can keep the great hits coming.”
The American Music Fairness Act would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties to music creators when their songs are played. It would also protect smaller stations that either make less than $1.5 million in annual revenue or who have a parent company that makes less than $10 million in annual revenue by letting them play unlimited music for under $500 a year.
The bill would also require other countries to pay American artists for the use of their work.
Support From Major Music Groups
The legislation is endorsed by a number of groups, including the Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Federation of Musicians.
If passed, the bill could move a lot of money into the pockets of performers. According to the Recording Academy, when American music gets international airplay, other countries collect royalties for American artists, amounting to around $200 million every year. However, they “never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.”
Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, argues that the money belongs to the artists.
“Broadcast companies profit from advertising sales because of the creative content musicians and singers record. It stands to reason that the performers who create the content deserve to be compensated just as songwriters are now,” Drescher said in a statement. “The reason it’s called the American Music Fairness Act is because the current situation is wholly unfair and it’s up to Congress to make it fair NOW!”
Last year, Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bill with essentially the opposite agenda. It aims to reserve radio’s royalty-free status. The American Music Fairness Act is being viewed as a counter-response to this bill.
Kanye West Says Catalog Is Potentially Being Sold Without His Permission: “Just Like Taylor Swift”
After Swift lost the rights to her life’s work, she took on the endeavor of re-recording her first six albums.
Kanye’s Catalog Potentially Up For Grabs
Following reports that Kanye West was considering selling his catalog, the artist took to Instagram on Tuesday to claim his work is potentially being sold without his approval.
On Monday, Billboard reported that West had been “quietly and intermittently shopping his publishing catalog.”
While the outlet’s sources did not reveal what price West was aiming for, Billboard estimated that West might be looking at a $175 million valuation for his discography. Some of Billboard’s sources seemingly suggested that West and his team were specifically behind the effort to sell his work, but others claimed the “catalog was never actively shopped” and instead, West had been receiving offers from potential buyers.
Not long after, several news outlets picked the story up and reported that West was gearing up to sell his catalog. West responded by writing on his Instagram story that this was not the case.
“Not For Sale”
“Just like Taylor Swift,” he said, referencing music mogul Scooter Braun purchasing Swift’s masters with Big Machine Records without her approval. “My publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge. Not for sale.”
Swift referred to the sale of her masters to Braun as her “worst case scenario.” In order to regain ownership of her work, she is in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which she originally made under Big Machine. Two have already been released and proved to be wildly commercially successful.
According to Forbes, it is unclear which of his albums West owns the masters to, if he owns any at all. Because of this, it is unknown what kind of position he would be put in if his catalog, which is currently managed by Sony, was sold.
The status of any potential for his work to be sold became foggier later on Tuesday when West shared screenshots of a text exchange he had. He asked an unidentified person what was happening with the catalog sale, and that person responded by calling it “fake news.”
“Of course every publisher wants to pitch [their] hardest buy, smh,” the text continued.
West did not further indicate if those texts were meant to clarify that his catalog was, in fact, not up for sale, or just further distance himself from any potential acquisition.