Barstool Sports, a blog for dipshits, by dipshits, caught hell Tuesday after senior director of editorial strategy and growth—this does not sound like a real job—Chris Spagnuolo wrote a blog about how Rihanna might be fat. Spagnuolo believed the criticism came because no one read past the headline, which was “Is Rihanna Going To Make Being Fat The Hot New Trend?”
Those who read past the headline got this sort of thing:
With all the fat acceptance and “love me as I am” crowd, there’s definitely a world where I could see chicks see Rihanna make some strong “I don’t give a fuck I just love pizza” quote that goes viral and bam we’re in a world where all the hottest girls look like the humans in Wall-E. And just in time for summer too. A world of ladies shaped like the Hindenburg loaded into one-piece bathing suits may be on the horizon now that Rihanna is traipsing around out there looking like she’s in a sumo suit. It’s a dangerous precedent and you may want to start adjusting your porn browsing to primarily BBW porn to condition yourself to this dystopian future we now face.
A lot of people hated the post, including one of the site’s own employees, UI/UX designer Megan Carrier:
Update (5:02 p.m. EDT): Through the looking glass.
After enduring vituperation for hours, the site deleted the tweet that linked to the story, and founder Dave Portnoy published a blog at 4:19 p.m. in which he announced that he would delete Spagnuolo’s post, not because “feminists” hated it, but because it wasn’t funny and Spagnuolo is a shitty writer. Portnoy essentially threw his employee under the bus on the grounds that he wasn’t valuable enough to defend. An unedited excerpt of his explanation:
And truthfully the facts are there is a double standard at this company. If Big Cat or PFT or KFC or I write this blog I’ll defend it to the death. They have earned that trust and loyalty from me. I hired them because I think they are all legitimacy hilarious people. However as I’ve said many times Spags wasn’t originally hired to be a personality at Barstool. He should not be writing blogs that we as a company end up having to defend. And I’ve been doing this long enough to know that somewhere down the line this blog will be dug up again and used as an example of our extreme sexism. Frankly that’s not a hill I’m willing to die on. I’ll choose a different guy and a different blog to go to war for. Just like how the risk wasn’t worth the reward in writing this, the risk isn’t worth the reward defending it either. That’s called being a leader. I make the decisions nobody else has the stomach to make.
Barstool Sports is a puzzling entity, in part because while it seemingly establishes a layer of kayfabe to shield itself from criticism, the people in charge don’t seem to understand the concept of kayfabe. The site’s staffers (PFT Commenter excluded) also don’t seem to understand the purpose of a headline, parody, satire, punchlines, or jokes in general, but that seems to be part of the appeal. For example, when one of them says something like this:
Those are jokes. What are the jokes, exactly? Beats me. The humor’s above my level.
All of this is neither here nor there, though, because the funniest part of this particular kerfuffle is that Portnoy didn’t actually delete the post. Hours later—around 8 a.m. today, at last check—the blog was still up. At some point after that, it was finally removed, although the headline and top photo can still be found on Spagnuolo’s author page. The cached version is still available, of course. If they figure out a way to memory-hole that—shouldn’t take more than a week—most of it’s here. I didn’t include some of the embedded Instagram photos at the end because there were so many and because regardless of the content of their writing, Barstool Sports’ site is hell on my browser.