Dave Portnoy, the founder of popular blogging and podcasting organisation Barstool Sports has been permanently suspended from Twitter for reportedly celebrating the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
User @mcm_ct, an account mostly focused on market commentary, was the first person to notice that Portnoy, who had 2.5 million followers, had been permanently banned from Twitter at around 7:50 EST on Friday, with the last reply tweets to his account having occurred only a few minutes before, suggesting the ban took place somewhere around that time.
— mcm-ct.com (@mcm_ct) June 18, 2021
Initial reaction from some users highlighted that Portnoy, who founded Barstool Sports, the popular blogging and podcast organisation, had been celebrating the end of the coronavirus pandemic. In a video which is still available on his Facebook page, Portnoy drank a bottle of champagne engraved with the word “coronavirus,” which he declared was a ritual he does whenever an “enemy” of his is defeated, claiming that now the pandemic is over and coronavirus is “dead,” he can finally open the bottle:
“It’s been a shitty 16 months, but you know when I have an enemy what I do, I put a bottle of champagne in the desk of my office… and I wait for them to fail… who is engraved on the back. I’ve been waiting for coronavirus. What a year I’ve had with this! I’ve been waiting, but now finally, I can pour it, and I can drink to the victory, because coronavirus is dead! Masks, gone, live life love, drink, be merry! Finally, I get to drink the best drink I’ve ever had in my life. Coronavirus is D E A D, bang! Enjoy it, drink up, enjoy life, we deserve it, let the roaring twenties begin!”
— DeLo (@DeLo_77) June 18, 2021
— Bet The Browns (@BetTheBrowns) June 18, 2021
In response, the hashtag #FreePortnoy was created. Although there has been no official comment from Portnoy himself or from Barstool Sports as to the banning situation, the official Barstool Sports account did tweet out a picture of Portnoy together with Twitter CEO and Founder Jack Dorsey at an event coupled with the hashtag. (READ MORE: Trump Congratulates Nigeria For Banning Twitter After Platform Censored Nigerian President)
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 19, 2021
National File has reached out to Twitter for comment regarding Portnoy’s ban, and specifically questioned whether he had fallen foul of their COVID-19 misinformation policy by declaring the pandemic “dead” as reports suggested. With lockdowns across the country and the world ending, National File also enquired as to which Twitter users could say if the pandemic was over, and when.
8:55 p.m. Update: Portnoy’s Twitter account has been restored. No explanation of the ban, has been provided.
This is a breaking news story and may be updated if more information becomes available.