Barstool Sports, the popular sports and pop culture brand, has fired one of its hosts, Ben Mintz, after he said the N-word while reciting rap lyrics on a livestream. Barstool Sports founder, Dave Portnoy, made the announcement on Wednesday and expressed his disappointment with the decision.
However, the decision was made by Barstool's parent company, Penn Entertainment, due to concerns that the incident could jeopardize regulatory gambling licenses across the country.
Mintz apologized for his actions, claiming it was an honest mistake, and said that he meant no harm. The slur was uttered during his show "Wake Up Mintzy," where he was reading the lyrics to "1st of Tha Month" by Bone Thugz-N-Harmony.
Despite apparent pushback from Portnoy, Barstool CEO Erika Nardini, and longtime talent Dan Katz, Penn Entertainment made the call to terminate Mintz's employment.
Penn Entertainment acquired 36% of Barstool Sports from The Chernin Group for $163 million in early 2020 and bought the remaining 64% for an additional $388 million in February 2021. The company operates 43 brick-and-mortar casinos in 20 states under the brands Ameristar, Boomtown, and Hollywood Casino.
Portnoy said that he trusts and respects Penn CEO Jay Snowden's decision-making, but he disagrees with the call to fire Mintz. Portnoy added that he does not deal with the things that Penn deals with in terms of state regulators and that he wouldn't have made the same decision if it were up to him.
“Penn paid a lot of money for Barstool and they have to make the best decisions to protect their business. I trust and respect [Penn CEO] Jay [Snowden] that he makes what he thinks is the right move and that’s all you can ask for. Doesn’t mean I’ll always agree but again he deals with things I don’t have to think or deal with,” Portnoy said in a video posted to Twitter.
Portnoy posted a later video addressing fans after being called out for being a "sellout" and a practitioner of cancel culture.
"No doi. No f*cking doi I sold out. You're just figuring that out? I start a company and then I f*cking sold it the fuck out. Made hundreds of millions and made millions for everybody who grinded in Milton. Yeah we sold the f*ck out and that's what you do when you're an entrepreneur," Portnoy said, adding that he still "hated" the decision.
Portnoy also removed anti-cancel culture hoodies from the Barstool store.
One widely read response to Portnoy read: "Barstool will go the way of Vice in 3-5 years."
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