Over the last few days, Dave Portnoy, an internet celebrity, has being widely criticized for his online commentary and behavior under the Barstool banner. As a result, his digital media company Barstool Sports is being “canceled” after trending on Twitter.
Cancel culture is coming for Barstool Sports once again, as it did a few years back because of Dave Portnoy’s alleged use of racial slurs in Barstool videos. This time, the Canadian sportscaster Gord Miller refused to associate with Barstool Sports in one of his comments, prompting another wildfire of commentary under cancel culture hashtags.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “cancel culture” is a modern form of ostracism, usually in the form of online shaming, that often results in forms of boycotting and demanding for individuals or organizations to be stripped of their current social standing.
Back to the subject at hand. In one of Miller’s tweets, he stated that he’s okay with being a part of cancel culture due to (according to him) Barstool’s “history of unapologetic misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and the repeated condoning of non-consensual sex,” which would seem to imply that Barstool has helped fan the flames of rape culture. This tweet sparked an on-going war on Twitter’s trending feed between the fans of Barstool Sports and Gord Miller and the rest of the “cancel culture.”
The entire situation looks like a repeat of a similar situation from a few months back. Skies started raining fire for Barstool Sports and its founder Dave Portnoy when Twitter account Resist Programming began retweeting Portnoy’s old videos, criticizing his behavior and racial language use. Jemele Hill, a contributor writer for The Atlantic, brought even more attention to the whole thing by commenting, “This is terrible, but then again, consider the source.”
This would be a point for Hill if she hadn’t committed similar sins of her own. One of her older tweets resurfaced, in which she jokingly referred to former MBL star Manny Ramirez as ‘Manny the Tranny’. With such skeletons in her closet, the fans of Barstool Sports turned the same cancel culture tactics against her, turning #CancelJemele into a trending topic on Twitter.
“Cancel culture is finally coming after Barstool,” said Portnoy, in a video he posted on Twitter a while back, regarding Barstool coming under social media fire. Portnoy did defend himself and his unapologetic attitude in the video, stating that he’s an equal-opportunity offender. He said that he’s been making fun of every group of people, regardless of their race, creed, or culture – “you name it,” he said.
The founder of Barstool Sports did acknowledge that cultural norms, including sensitivities, change with time. However, he refused to apologize for any racial talk he used in previous videos made for Barstool Sports, saying that he’s not “going to bend the knee.”
In his response to the newest waves of accusations and online attacks, Portnoy said the following: “I know people say I should ignore guys like @GMillerTSN. But I’ll never be able to do that. Barstool is 20 years of my life’s work. I’m proud of it. I’m proud of our fans. He attacked everything I’m about. If you don’t fight back against that what do you fight back against?”
It remains to be seen what kind of consequences (if any) Portnoy and Barstool Sports will face due to this recent wave of criticism and online boycotting.