Barstool Sports, a massively popular sports website and media organization, has had its share of controversies over the years. Whether it’s founder Dave Portnoy’s fight with NFL Chairman Roger Goodell or staff employees on Barstool’s payroll being accused of infidelity, it’s safe to say that Barstool Sports is ready for anything.
Michael Rapaport recently filed summary judgment papers against Barstool Sports in his breach-of-contract and slander action. Barstool hired Michael as a podcaster and video producer in 2017. Michael’s contract was not renewed as things swiftly went south. Why did Barstool fire Rapaport? We’ve got all the information here!
In 2017 Michael Rapaport joined Barstool Sports
Michael’s arrangement with Barstool Sports entitles him to $200,000 for “rants” uploaded online and $400,000 for a podcast, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As well as the $40,000 for making a video for DraftKings, he reportedly received a large percentage of earnings and apparel sales. His show on SiriusXM was supposed to be a reward for his “good faith efforts,” according to reports. The actor claims that that opportunity never came.
“I was hired based on my podcast, rants, sports media, and social media personality,” Michael said. “That’s what attracted me to them. There were no provisions from the hiring or courtship. They especially wanted me to be a bombastic ‘bad guy’ around the Rough N’ Rowdy PPV fights for a promotion and to attract viewership.”
After Barstool refused to renew his contract, Michael Rapaport sued them for defamation.
Everything went from bad to worse at that point. Barstool allegedly decided not to renew their contract with Michael after just a few months of their working together. An “organized assault” to break out of the existing talent arrangement, he believes, was orchestrated by Barstool, as well.
“Following BSI’s decision not to retain Mr. Rapaport, BSI employees, personalities and bloggers began a systematic campaign to publicly and privately discredit, disparage, and undermine Mr. Rapaport’s relationship with BSI as well as his credibility as an actor and performer,” An revised claim is made in this statement.
Barstool made money off of the case, selling a clown shirt with Michael’s face
Dave Portnoy and Barstool Sports wasted no time in cashing in on Michael and his legal team’s lawsuit against them. There are now T-shirts available depicting this character’s face with a clown’s nose and herpes sore on his lower lip. On their blogs, they have written things like: “Michael Rapaport Is A Fraudulent Sack Of Sh**.”
You shouldn’t expect Barstool’s leader to express any regret. According to a newly filed summary judgment petition, “Defendant Portnoy, creator of Barstool, admits to actual malice,” acknowledging that “Defendants had no basis to make these false allegations, but that they made them to harm Mr. Rapport’s career and to ridicule and humiliate him.”
“He also confesses that he would not have apologized or retracted his claims to Mr. Rapaport even if he knew they were incorrect. Responding to a public inquiry on the accuracy of their claims about Mr. Rapaport, the defendants went one step further and said: ‘That’s all we spewed. It’s all about the truth and justice here. Honesty and fair play.”
According to Barstool Sports, Michael Rapaport broke a morals clause in his contract.
Barstool says that Michael’s defamation complaint is pointless since he is what they call a “public figure.” “It’s “defamation-proof,” Before they fired him, the company said that he had a bad reputation. Also, Barstool claims that he has a “criminal history that is well known” (referencing an incident where, after an actress broke up with him, he called her 21 times, showed up at her apartment at 1 a.m., and eventually got arrested).
Additionally, Barstool claims that his talent agreement forbade him from making statements that would bring the company into disrepute, which is why the company claims that he violated these provisions by starting his own feuds with coworkers and by attacking fans of the content the company produces themselves (aka “stoolies”). Take, for instance, Rapaport’s tweet, which said, “There is no point in trying to prove that you are a real stoolie. You’ve already failed.
Michael’s defamation complaint against Barstool Sports was dismissed on March 30, 2021. A “reasonable audience” could get the conclusion that the image was exaggerated, according to U.S. Southern District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, according to the New York Post. Despite Rapaport’s best efforts, Buchwald ruled that the image as a whole was not actionable since a reasonable audience would not interpret the shirt as declaring as fact that Rapaport has herpes.
The defamation complaint against Barstool Sports Inc has been withdrawn, but the breach-of-contract suit against the company will go to trial.
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