Attack the "Stoolies"
Yes, we're going there.
Welcome back to The Things We (Don’t) Talk About!
(TW) This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the sexual misconduct claims made against Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports. The claims themselves are horrific (three women alleged that they had 'frightening and humiliating' sexual experiences with Portnoy), but I've also been thinking about Barstool's misogynistic and dedicated fanbase, the group commonly known as "Stoolies."
On Monday, I interviewed my friend and Host of the podcast Tales of Taboo, Ali Weiss, on the bullying that she's personally received from the Barstool community. The first time the "Stoolies" came for Ali was back in 2017, when she was the only female contestant on "Barstool Idol." The second time was last week, after sharing her experience with the reporter from Insider who broke the story on Portnoy's alleged sexual misconduct.
In our chat, we ended up talking about the trickle-down effect when power and misogyny (a lethal combination) go hand-in-hand. Portnoy, through Barstool, has clearly used his power to create a space for regressive opinions to fester and thrive, leading to fans trying to impress him with those same opinions from afar. It bears a striking resemblance to, say, what Trump did with political media. But what's particularly problematic about this cycle of misogyny is that it's pretty hard to "cancel". During an interview with Tucker Carlson this week, Portnoy said "I’m not going to let it go…I’ve never been attacked like this.” Oh, the irony of that statement.
The thing is—"Stoolies" expect Portnoy to behave in the way that he has. In fact, they celebrate it. Portnoy infamously joked about rape (with no regrets) back in 2012 and now Barstool fans frequently incite rape, violence, and death threats on those who criticize their fearless leader. Of course, this most directly leads to harassment and violence against women, as we're seeing play out in real-time with the recent allegations. So where does accountability sit within this type of widespread acceptance of misogyny, which often starts with a person (man) in a position of power? It doesn't.
I could go on for hours but I'm getting heated again, so I'll hit pause for today. You’ll be able to listen to the conversation between Ali and me next week ‘cos (drumroll pls) Saved Sessions go live in Diem. Till then, listen to Ali’s podcast on her experience with “Stoolies” while competing in “Barstool Idol” in 2017, here. If you have thoughts on this, please drop us a line below or join the discussion in Diem.
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🐦 It's not you, it's Twitter. Writer Ofelia Banks talks about her experience joining Twitter last year (after much resistance), only to get mistaken for a troll by a person she followed and admired. "Having read many Tweets referring to Twitter as a hellscape during my brief time on the app, I assumed it wasn’t personal," she writes." People—especially Black women and non-binary people—had to protect themselves online. But I had also read about Twitter being a magical place where Black people found community. So it was hard not to take it personally—I was a Black person being denied entry." (The Power Outlet)
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What we’re talking about in Diem…
How’s it going in the “metaverse”? Join journalist, Taylor Majewski and me(!) as we discuss the ~masculine~ vibes coming from the early days of the metaverse and the issues we foresee in the current vision | TODAY at 1.30PM EST, here.
Starting a company but don’t know where to (legally) begin? Join Host and start-up lawyer, Rachel Johnson, for a live Q&A – bring questions! | FRIDAY at 10.30am EST, here.
Confused about how to find quality CBD Products? Join activist, filmmaker and Host, Chelsea Leyland, as she shares more about her journey finding quality CBD products and what to look for! | FRIDAY at 4pm EST, here.
Want to become more financially literate & understand investing? Join Victoria Harris, Founder of women’s investing education platform, The Curve, as she’s interviewed by community Queen, Amy Fraser, as part of our Founding Host Spotlight series. | SUNDAY at 4.30pm EST, here.
That’s all for this week! Catch you next time.