WATCH: Dave Portnoy Goes Head-to-Head With Washington Post's Emily Heil

Everybody knows the rules

September 21, 2023

The public got an inside look this week into how the Washington Post conducts its reporting thanks to Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.

Portnoy on Tuesday recorded a conversation with one of the paper's food reporters, Emily Heil, after learning Heil and a colleague were working on a hit piece ahead of his "One Bite Pizza Festival." Portnoy, who initiated the call with Heil, said Heil was "reaching out to our advertisers" with emails that "basically" said, "Dave's a [misogynistic] racist, do you want to defend yourselves advertising at this event?"

After Heil denied sending such emails, Portnoy read Heil one of her messages to a sponsor, which she later confirmed sending.

"We are planning to write about the festival," Portnoy reads from the email, "and how some of the sponsors and participants have drawn criticism by seeming to associate themselves with Dave Portnoy, who has a history of misogenic [sic] comments and other problematic behavior."

Portnoy seems to be mispronouncing the word "misogynistic," an epithet often lodged at the controversial and combative sports blogger, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women.

Heil claimed in response that she employed "pointed" language to entice sponsors to return their request for comments and that such an approach was "standard journalistic stuff," adding, "It's sort of a reporting tactic. When you want someone to respond, you kind of have to indicate that there might be something negative and then you get them to engage." Heil did not respond to a request for comment regarding which of Portnoy's comments she was referring to as misogynistic, what behavior she was referring to as "problematic," and whether she considers this a standard and ethical tool of reporting. A spokesman for the paper did not respond to a request for comment.

The Barstool Sports owner, who insists he is not political, has nonetheless turned into a lightning rod for left-wing activists and writers over his brash persona and friendly relationship with Republicans, including Tucker Carlson and former president Donald Trump.

Heil initially told the Washington Free Beacon that she would comment on her interaction with Portnoy.

At the end of the filmed interaction, Portnoy and Heil agreed to speak again the following morning. But the next day, according to Portnoy, Heil asked to push the call to close of business on the evening before the story was set to be published.

"The craziest thing about this @OneBiteFest controversy is the very few losers complaining about it never had any intention of going," Portnoy wrote on Twitter. "Their only goal is to hurt all the pizzerias and small businesses involved because they don't like me.  How delusional and selfish can you be?"

The One Bite Pizza Festival, which will be held Saturday in New York City, will feature more than 35 "legendary pizzerias," according to the event's website. Ticket holders will be able to enjoy "unlimited complimentary pizza from 35+ of the best pizzerias in America."

The Free Beacon has reported on the Post's history of partisanship, including a recent smear campaign against a federal judge. The paper's new CEO, former Amazon board member Patricia Stonesifer, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic politicians.