Barstool Sports personality Ben Mintz was fired this week for accidentally uttering a racial slur and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy thinks that over-zealous gaming regulators are behind the dismissal. That’s the gist of a recent five-minute “emergency press conference” the sports betting personality posted on Twitter the day after the firing.
Mintz is a popular figure at Barstool and hosts a show called Wake Up Mintzy. Earlier this week, the podcaster was reading the lyrics of a rap song on the air when he uttered a racial slur that was in the song’s lyrics. It’s pretty clear in the video that Mintz realized his mistake immediately, but the damage was already done. Uttering the N word in public, regardless of the context, is a pretty big no-no in any workplace and Mintz was immediately fired.
Portnoy, along with Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini and Barstool personality Dan Katz advocated with the executives of Penn Entertainment, the massive gaming company and Barstool’s corporate owner, to save Mintz’s but Penn wouldn’t budge. That’s where Portnoy, who is not an employee of Barstool or Penn, comes into the picture.
In his Twitter video, Portnoy suggests that Penn only fired Mintz because they fear state gaming regulators who “operate with no impunity” and suggested that Barstool’s core audience might flee the platform in protest.
Portnoy continued his rant adding, “Penn operates in a world that we don’t operate in. They are highly regulated by the government. They’re issued licenses for gambling that just as easily as they’re issued, they can be pulled back. And for anybody who has followed any of the states and Penn trying to get legalized and things like that, one thing is clear: A lot of people hate my guts. They f****** hate me. They hate Barstool. They look for any lever and excuse anything to cause problems for us and pull the licenses.”
It’s unclear whether Penn considered licensing in their decision to fire Mintz, but there are virtually zero mainstream media companies that would let a slip like that slide. As of this writing, Mintz has not been reinstated.