Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy threatened to fire employees in anti-unionization tweets and challenged AOC to a debate on Twitter

Barstool Sports founder Dave PortnoyBarstool SportsBarstool Sports founder Dave PortnoyBarstool Sports

  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

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.

Read more: BuzzFeed cut 15% of its staff, and some critics are now taking shots at CEO Jonah Peretti's strategy

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.

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