DEFENSE: Police Report Filed Against Dave Portnoy Explained. Did He Commit a Crime?

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In the wake of the contentious social media war raging between Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy and the executive editor of Business Insider, Nicholas Carlson, which recently published a story about Portnoy’s sexual experiences with two women, a police report has been shared by BI on Twitter. The report was initially published with Portnoy’s home address, until the publication received backlash and then partially and later fully redacted Portnoy’s address for privacy reasons. The report is behind a paywall and can be accessed on BI’s site.

The police report filed in August of 2020, was reportedly filed by the mother of one of the women mentioned in BI’s story. According to BI, the young woman was allegedly suicidal and hospitalized not long after her encounter with Portnoy, though it’s unclear whether her mental health issues related to Portnoy or other pre-existing issues. Portnoy has shared alleged text messages between himself and one of the women, reportedly the one who was hospitalized, in which she asks to hang out with him again after their initial encounter.

The police report states that it was filed to alert the police to Portnoy’s “bad behavior”and accuses Portnoy of only hanging out with 18-year old girls when he is in Nantucket. The mother says that “David Portnoy is 43-years-old and he shouldn’t be dating 18-year-old girls. The mother “stated that she wants to give us a heads up,” wrote the officer. The report went on to report that Portnoy “always asks the girls if they are at least 18-years-old and willing to have sexual intercourse with him.”

The mother went on to report that people from the local Fish and Meat Market “told her that David Portnoy came there with a different girl every time he goes there.”

The mother went on to mention that her 19-year-old daughter went to Portnoy’s house and “something happened and now she was in the hospital,” going on to say the young woman “has no memory of going to David Portnoy’s house.”

The mother wouldn’t provide her daughter’s name or give any more details but said she was reporting Portnoy because she didn’t want “this” to happen to other girls and he shouldn’t be dating 18-year-old girls.

The report goes on to say that the police department had not received any complaints from any of the girls regarding Portnoy but that A Safe Place and the Detectives Unit was alerted. This week the Department reported that it was not investigating Portnoy.

The police report clearly alleges absolutely nothing illegal. Older men dating 18-year-olds, while it may be morally frowned upon by certain people, is perfectly legal and not necessarily uncommon, particularly among wealthy individuals.

Massachusetts recognizes eighteen as the “age of majority,” or legal adulthood. The fact that Portnoy reportedly confirmed the girls’ ages prior to asking to engage in intercourse with them, also underscores that he was trying to ensure he was having sex with an adult who could legally consent. The report also states the mother said Portnoy asked girls if they were willing to have sex with him, which shows there were efforts to obtain consent, if true. This is evidence in Portnoy’s favor should he ever be accused formally.

Reporting anyone’s personal sexual habits, just because you don’t agree with them, provides no basis for a criminal report, allegations or charges, if those habits include consensual activities among adults. The fact that the report was filed by an uninvolved party who was not engaged in the sexual activities herself and alleges nothing unlawful further underscores that there is no basis for any criminal charge.

The police department would provide no basis for arresting or charging Portnoy based on this report alone, absent any evidence of unlawful conduct.

The Business Insider article is controversial from a journalism standpoint as Portnoy has accused the reporter, Julia Black, of mining for a story about him by contacting women he has slept with and asking leading questions to fit her narrative. Portnoy has provided texts from at least one girl who expressed discomfort with the reporter’s line of questioning and warned Portnoy of an up and coming “hit piece.” After reading the police report, Portnoy said on Twitter, “I’m charged with eating cookies and rumors of hanging out with girls.” Portnoy also tweeted images of at least one email allegedly written by a Business Insider employee to his sponsors, accusing BI of attempting to dissuade Barstool Sports’ sponsors from supporting the media outlet, based on its article.

Business Insider, while falling short of accusing Portnoy of committing any crimes, published the graphic expose detailing two alleged sexual encounters Portnoy had with women, 18 and over, who accused him of being rough and humiliating them during the sexual activities.

One woman, listed as “Madison” to protect her identity, alleged that during the sex encounter, she told Portnoy that the alleged rough sex was “too much” but he only “went harder.” 

“It was so painful,” Madison told Insider. “I kept trying to get away and he was like, ‘Stop running away from me. Stop running away from me.’”

Madison allegedly sent a friend a text message following the encounter, saying Portnoy choked her so hard she couldn’t breathe. 

Portnoy vehemently denied the woman told him to stop in a video response he posted Thursday (embedded below). He said the two had been messaging for more than a month before they met up, and after the sex he realized they did not get along and she slept on the couch and they never spoke again. 

“We did have pizza, hung out, hooked up,” Portnoy said. “At no point during — at no point — was it not 100 percent consensual. At no point did she ask me to stop, at no point did either us think something unseemly happened. There was no weirdness after. It was totally fine, normal interaction … 100 percent consensual.” 

The other woman, named “Allison” to protect her identity, alleged that she had “aggressive” sex with Portnoy, involving choking, and then he kicked her out.  

“​​He kept spitting in my mouth, which was really gross,” Allison told Insider. “I was kind of scared. I didn’t want to disappoint him.”

Allison declined to pursue charges, and her mother is allegedly the one who filed the police report against Portnoy after her daughter was allegedly hospitalized a few days later for mental health issues.

It is unclear from reading the articles whether the two women are alleging sexual assault or were just left displeased by the nature of consensual incidents. Portnoy denies any form of non consensual sex or any forceful behavior.

These “he said/she said” private encounters are extremely hard to prove, when deciding who is telling the truth. Evidence from both sides should be considered before rushing to judgment. The “gotcha” journalism method, if in fact it occurred here, is also highly controversial, particularly if the story does not uncover allegations of unlawful conduct, but instead reports on private behavior between adults and is published anyway. As mentioned, the article is unclear on whether the women did not like allegedly rough but consensual sex or are alleging a form of rape or sexual assault. It does not expressly make clear what allegations are involved, if any and there are no police complaints, reports or an investigation to support criminal allegations as of now. The police report is listed below.