- Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy said that he would fire employees in a string of tweets about unionizing the sports site.
- His threats stem from Bill Simmons' The Ringer announcing a union on Monday.
- Under The National Labor Relations Board, it is illegal for employers to discourage union activities.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York retweeted Portnoy's tweet and said that his comments were "likely breaking the law." Portnoy then challenged her to a debate.
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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy said that he'll fire employees who contact a reporter or a lawyer about unionizing.
On Monday, Portnoy tweeted about Bill Simmons' sports site The Ringer forming a union backed by the WGA East with a link to a 2015 Barstool story published about Gawker Media unionizing.
"I hope and I pray that Barstool employees try to unionize," Portnoy wrote in the four-year-old blog post. "I can't tell you how much I want them to unionize. Just so I can smash their little union to smithereens. Nothing would please me more than to break it into a million little pieces."
Over the past few years, employees at major newsrooms like BuzzFeed News, Vice Media, Vox Media and New York Magazine have formed unions seeking better working conditions in a turbulent industry.
On Tuesday, Portnoy responded to a string of tweets about the post and threatened to fire employees.
Rafi Letzer, a staff writer at Live Science, responded to the tweet and encouraged Barstool employees to send him a private message to talk about the unionization process. Portnoy responded to the tweet and said that he would fire any Barstool employees who contacted Letzer "on the spot."
Barstool Sports did not respond to a request for comment about Portnoy's tweets or possible unionization plans.
Portnoy also threatened to sue employees who contacted Matthew Weir, an attorney at law firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLC. Weir tweeted that Barstool employees could contact him for pro bono help.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York then tweeted that Portnoy was "likely breaking the law" with his comments threatening to fire employees.
Under The National Labor Relations Board, it is illegal for employers to discourage union activities.
Portnoy responded and challenged Ocasio-Cortez to a debate on Twitter.
He also responded to a string of tweets, including a tweet that hoped Barstool does unionize.
Portnoy is known for making controversial comments and apologized for a "moronic" spat with a comedian in March.
If all the people in my mentions would spend more time working and less time tweeting you would be rich and powerful like me and wouldn't need your blogging unions to protect you.- Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 13, 2019
Anybody who hires this lawyer will be fired immediately and I will personally sue you for damages and back wages. https://t.co/wxg3odCWUk- Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 13, 2019
If you're a boss tweeting firing threats to employees trying to unionize, you are likely breaking the law &can be sued,in your words, "on the spot."- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 13, 2019
ALL workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions.
See @NLRB &union orgs like @AFLCIO for tips. https://t.co/bU7WlHrp1d
Me too. Just so I can crush it and reassert my dominance. https://t.co/DoLl61wRVW- Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 13, 2019