El Pres Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports dismisses efforts to picket a party his Web site is promoting. "My biggest concern is that they dress warmly," he says of the protesters.
Even behind the wall of semi-anonymity provided by blogs and Internet message boards, some rules still apply. For example: if you make enough rape jokes, it's only a matter of time before someone calls you out for being a misogynist asshole.
For Barstool Sports — the polarizing but wildly popular Boston-based online bro haven — and its legion of willfully crude commenters, that time came yet again last Tuesday, when four Northeastern students launched "Knock Out Barstool" (KOB), a campaign to protest what the group describes as Barstool's promotion of rape culture. Specifically, KOB plans to protest Barstool's Northeastern Blackout Party, scheduled for this week at the House of Blues.
The Blackout Party is part of a national Barstool-organized "tour" that targets students from specific schools, aspiring to be something between a dance party and an episode of Girls Gone Wild. The architects of the KOB protest also take major umbrage with the Web site's substantially less-than-enlightened humor.
Some of Barstool's most heinous, humorless quips: a post relating the story of a woman whose boyfriend beat her after she stopped giving him oral sex so she could answer her phone. Under the post, a comment from Barstool Boston ringleader Dave "El Presidente" Portnoy declared, "Honey, I don't care if it's Joe Jonas on the other line saying he wants to fuck the shit out of you, you don't pick up that phone call. You finish sucking cock first." Another Portnoy post reads, ". . . even though I never condone rape if you're a size 6 and you're wearing skinny jeans you kind of deserve to be raped right?"
In a phone interview with the Phoenix, Portnoy said that the posts are just jokes and reaffirmed that he's against rape.
Portnoy is no stranger to controversy: even many of Barstool's faithful readers turned against him last year after a widely publicized post in which he republished, and lewdly commented on, a photo of Tom Brady's naked infant son.
Knock Out Barstool is also targeting Northeastern University, for the administration's failure to condemn an event that, by using the university's name, could suggest the university's assent. Northeastern issued a tweet officially disassociating themselves from the Barstool event, but KOB found that reaction underwhelming.
"I'm on Twitter like it's my job, and I managed to miss that tweet," says 21-year-old KOB member Anna Siembor. She says additional KOB chapters are forming at schools including Boston University and Boston College, where Blackout parties are also in the works.
A squad of KOB members and sympathizers plans to gather in the quad between Northeastern's Speare Hall and Stetson East dorms today (Thursday, February 2) at 6:30 pm and march to the House of Blues for an "alterna-party" protest.
"My biggest concern [about the protest] is for them to dress warmly," said Portnoy, "so they don't catch a cold."
Portnoy added that the Barstool excerpts quoted by KOB were culled from seven years of posts, though he did not deny having written them. He did, however, flatly deny being the person who, under the moniker "El Prez," posted the comment "I will rape you" in response to a scathing anti-Barstool editorial that KOB contributed to the independent student-run Northeastern paper, the Huntington News.