Barstool Sports CEO Dave Portnoy and former ESPN host Jemele Hill had an intense clash on Monday over controversial remarks each had made in the past.
The feud began on Sunday after Hill amplified a 2016 clip from Barstool Sports’ “The Rundown” where Portnoy compares then-San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick to an “ISIS guy” and says he looked “Arabic.”
“This is terrible, but then again, consider the source,” Hill reacted.
After retweeting screenshots of Barstool’s coverage defending Kaepernick over the years, Portnoy retaliated by retweeting a screenshot from a 2009 tweet written by Hill which was labeled “transphobic” by the Twitter user.
“My fb friends are calling him ‘Manny the Tranny’… so inappropriate and hilarious,” Hill wrote.
Her tweet was in reference to former MLB player Manny Ramirez’s doping scandal, where he used a female fertility drug as a steroid.
Supporters of Portnoy went after Hill on social media, using the hashtag #CancelJemelle, which trended on Twitter.
As her tweet began circulating, The Atlantic contributor responded to one of her critics who had called her the “queen of cancel culture” and addressed the remark.
“Let me explain why I kept this tweet up when it was brought to my attention: For context, the tweet was in reference to Manny Ramirez testing positive for the woman’s fertility drug, gonadotropin. It was wholly ignorant, dumb, and offensive. I am ashamed that I was so uneducated about trans issues at the time. I stand with this community firmly today,” Hill wrote about the tweet, which she ended up deleting.
She continued, “I kept the tweet up because I welcomed the opportunity to apologize and to show growth. See, unlike some people, I’m not defensive about my moments of failure. I learn from them and own it. I don’t care about Dave Portnoy or any of the other Barstool sycophants RT’ing this into my TL, like it’s some gotcha moment. I care about the trans community I belittled and offended. If they don’t see me as an ally because of this, it’s my job to show them that I am.”
Portnoy, however, took a different approach in a video message, slamming cancel culture, but noted that he and Barstool Sports have been targeted “for 17 f—in’ years.”
“I’ve been doing this for two decades. I’ve made fun of every group of people, every race, every creed, every culture — you name it, we’ve made jokes about it,” Portnoy said. “So if the No Fun Club, if the cancel culture wants to go back blog by blog, video by video, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, decade by decade and comb through everything we’ve ever f—in said and done, yeah, you’re gonna find a few jokes that missed the mark, that things if they are said today, you’d be like, ‘How’d they f—in’ say this? What are they, idiots?’ But times change, sensitivities change, cultures change. When you’ve been doing it as long as we have, things f—in’ change!”
The Barstool Sports CEO said he was not going to apologize or “bend the knee” for his remarks about Kaepernick, which he said was “literally a joke from ‘The Office'” and how the people who want to cancel him probably “love” the show but “hate” him.
“There isn’t one person I’ve ever worked with, who has worked for me, we’ve done business with, interacted with who will ever back up anything these haters say. Not one, and I’ve worked with thousands and thousands and thousands of people,” Portnoy insisted. “Instead, they just throw rocks and darts from behind bushes and I turn around like, ‘Do you want to talk about it because I can explain my thought process and defend myself.’ They never do. Nope. They just want to run and hide. Throw darts, run, and hide. Well f— you.”
Portnoy then addressed his critics, telling them “whenever they try to cancel us with movements that pop up every cuouple of years, it only makes us stronger because normal people want to escape for a couple of f—in’ seconds from this f—ed-up world.”
“When you’re miserable and dead and f—in’ doing your own thing, in the next decade we’ll still be here doing us. You’ll still be losing sleep about it. That’s just how it goes. You see this mug? Ain’t going anywhere,” Portnoy concluded.