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Tipsheet

How Ocasio-Cortez And Barstool Sports Got Into It Over Labor Unions

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

If you’re not a fan of Barstool Sports, you should be. They’re a politically incorrect, holds-no-barred sports and popular culture site. They give zero you-know-whats—and they’re great. If anything, you might have seen Barstool President Dave Portnoy (“El Pres”) do his famous pizza reviews. HBO Sports did a segment on them, which the site knew would be biased against them. They responded in-kind and before the Left gets all huffy about the culture of this company, which is also hilariously predictable, don’t forget that it’s an entity run by women. 

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Okay—let’s get into why they’re in the news again. Portnoy has taken a firm stance against Barstool becoming a unionized business. And by firm stance, I mean tweeting that anyone who speaks with a labor lawyer will be fired. This led to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) chiming in, which led to Portnoy tossing out a debate threat in the Thunderdome. This probably won’t happen, but social media war—it’s possible (via Variety):

Dave “El Presidente” Portnoy, founder of media company Barstool Sports, says he really hates unions. Now he’s made explicit threats to fire employees who engage in union-organizing activity — which, even if Portnoy is “joking,” has drawn scrutiny of what would represent violations of federal labor laws.

Portnoy, who sold majority control of Barstool to Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group in 2016, has a history of unapologetically attacking critics and rivals.

On Monday, he tweeted that he had heard employees of Bill Simmons’ The Ringer wanted to unionize, and included a link to his four-year-old rant on Barstool in the wake of Gawker writers unionizing about how he hoped his company’s employees would follow suit “just so I can smash their little union to smithereens.”

That elicited a reply from Live Science staff writer Rafi Letzter, who offered to provide Barstool workers info on the unionization process and explain “how little power your boss has to stop you.” Live Science’s staff is represented by the Writers Guild of America East.

On Tuesday, Portnoy said he would fire anyone who attempted to contact Letzter. In response to another commenter, who claimed to be a lawyer offering pro-bono assistance to Barstool employees wanting to unionize, Portnoy wrote, “Anybody who hires this lawyer will be fired immediately and I will personally sue you for damages and back wages.”

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Grab some popcorn for this one. 

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