Dave Portnoy: ‘Scam artist’ Sam Bankman-Fried ‘deserves prison’ for stealing money, ruining lives

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy discusses The New York Times’ ‘hit piece,’ the FTX collapse, Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ and the World Cup in a wide-ranging interview on ‘Varney & Co.’

The outspoken and unapologetic Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy weighed in on disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s downfall and the "Twitter Files" debate Friday, blasting the "scam artist" and "crying left," respectively.

On "Varney & Co.," Portnoy reacted to Bankman-Fried’s bail denial as he awaits extradition to the U.S., where he faces federal fraud and money laundering allegations. 

"I don't know that he has an end game," Portnoy told host Stuart Varney. "It's one of the great scams of all time. Everything he said after this thing fell was amazing to me, the way he was tweeting, the way he was going on different spaces… but this guy’s a scam artist."

According to Portnoy, FTX had bought advertisement space on Barstool Sports sometime within the last two years. The Barstool founder and president claimed he doesn’t understand how Bankman-Fried "lost track of things," after Portnoy personally experienced a business dealing with him.


"You know how involved he was before he would sign it?" Portnoy recalled. "He requested to speak with me. So this guy knew where every ad dollar was going, but suddenly he doesn't know [about] co-mingling funds and all the nasty stuff? Give me a break. He deserves prison. He stole people's money, ruined lives."

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy discussed Sam Bankman-Fried, the “Twitter Files” and The New York Times’ “hit piece” about him on “Varney & Co.” Friday, December 16, 2022. (Getty Images)

Portnoy maintained that FTX’s advertising agreement fell within Barstool's legal guidelines, appearing to be a "legitimate" company. He also expressed hope that those profits from the deal won’t be "clawed" back, putting the onus on the federal government to ensure and uphold legal business operations.

"FTX, it was legal to accept advertising. Now, they seemed like a legitimate company. Who's responsible? It wasn't like we're a paid spokesman. At what point is it our responsibility?" Portnoy said. "We'd never get ad dollars if we got to run an investigation into every company that wants to advertise. So I do think it's the government's responsibility to a degree in this case, to make sure this is a legitimate thing."

The Barstool Sports founder and president also reacted to Twitter CEO Elon Musk suspending the accounts of several prominent media personalities from CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Intercept and MSNBC, after they allegedly violated Twitter’s new policy not to share location information, known as "doxxing."


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"I think there's a lot of crying from the left in this new thing today where he banned a bunch of reporters for doxxing his location. I have no problem with that," Portnoy said. "The left, or reporters, always complain about that, ‘You shouldn't dox anybody.’ So for the most part, I don't have a problem with what he's doing. There's a lot of crying."

Since Musk’s Twitter takeover, Portnoy said his posts get "way more views" than before, and said he likes "some" of what the Tesla CEO is changing – and revealing – on the platform.

"This is capitalism. It's a private company," the Barstool founder and president said. "If you didn't want him taking it over, why did you sell it? You forced him to buy it."

Portnoy also ripped and responded to a New York Times "hit piece" calling him a "degenerate gambler," suggesting that he advised fans to wager their "house, kids and family" on a single sports game.

"Emily Steel, that New York Times article, they were never going to say anything remotely nice about me. And I've come to learn that's part of this media business," Portnoy said. "People have an outpouring to write hit pieces. That was a good example of it."



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The Barstool founder went on to say he has the receipts ready to prove he offered to sit down with the reporter "multiple times" before the article was published.

"I'm an open book. I think you probably realize that at this point. Her response, probably five to eight times, was, ‘I'm very eager to meet with you. I'll speak with you soon.’ Months passed, seven months, I think. I didn't hear a peep," Portnoy said.

"Anybody, any reporter who writes nasty things about me, I always offer, I'm willing to sit down. I'm your star subject, why wouldn't you want to sit down with me?" he continued. "My only request is that I record it, both video and audio, so you can't edit it and make me look bad. She denied that request. She's a coward."


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