Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy caused yet another wave of controversy Wednesday, disparaging the appearance of a female employee during the company’s “Barstool Radio” program.
Portnoy, known on the site as “El Presidente,” said Ria Ciuffo, 20, an on-camera contributor for the company, would not “be able to put her face in front of a camera in five years, because people will throw up.”
Deadspin published audio of the exchange on Thursday.
Ciuffo heard the comments on the program and confronted Portnoy and co-hosts Kevin Clancy and Liz Gonzales. Clancy and Gonzales sided with Ciuffo and told Portnoy to apologize, but instead the company co-founder doubled down.
“I will not apologize,” he said. “There’s no apology coming for that.”
Later Wednesday, he tweeted that he and Ciuffo had made up.
“Not the first employee I’ve made cry. I’m sure not the last,” he wrote. “Onward and upward.”
During the radio program, which airs on SiriusXM, Portnoy justified the remarks by pointing out he said similar things about male on-camera hosts at the company. When Ciuffo continued to press for an apology, Portnoy told her, “You’re in the wrong place.”
“When we’re talking about jobs, and I work on camera and you’re saying in five years I won’t even be able to have a job,” Ciuffo said moments later. “My job is to work on camera. I want to be working here in five years. I want to be on camera. I want to stay here.”
“Well maybe you’ll have to go behind the camera,” Portnoy responded.
His co-hosts suggested he wasn’t being serious, but Portnoy didn’t take the out.
“Welcome to Barstool Radio, Ria,” he said.
At that point, Cuiffo left the studio and Clancy and Gonzales playfully chastised Portnoy for not offering an apology.
Portnoy insisted the remark was made in jest, but refused to walk back the sentiment.
“Honestly, if you’re gonna cry, then walk your f—ing a– out the door,” he said. “I don’t give a f— about that and I’ll double down on that.”
Cuiffo later tweeted a photo of herself in a swimsuit with the caption, “Posting this now since I might not look as good in 5 years,” and tagged Portnoy.
The Barstool Sports brand has prompted frequent controversies over its treatment of women; Portnoy has appeared to joke about sexual violence and called sports columnist Sarah Spain a “f—ing c—.”
The site partnered with ESPN in October 2017 for a show called “Barstool Van Talk,” but ESPN pulled the show after its first episode. Then-ESPN chief John Skipper said, “I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Dave Portnoy. He is the founder of Barstool Sports, not the co-founder.
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