So we were then graced with this headline on Boston.com Tuesday morning at 9:25am:
“Blogger takes down naked pictures of Tom Brady’s son.”
OK. Here we go.
Dave Portnoy, aka El Presidente of BarstoolSports.com had, in case you were unawares, published a paparazzi shot of Tom Brady, Giselle Bunchen and their son Benjamin on a beach. Benjamin, like kids can do, was running around in his birthday suit. Dave Portnoy decided to zoom into the photograph, explicitly pointing to Benjamin’s penis. Portnoy, somehow an expert on toddler genitalia, decided that Benjamin had a big penis and declared it was a “Howitzer.”
A firestorm ensued. Sports blog Deadspin ran a story with an image reading Portnoy’s Complaint.
“I’m sure they’re some nutbags out there that are looking at it,” said Lou Merloni of WEEI-FM, “… that are probably enjoying—sick bastards. I think he crossed the line.” “When this guy tells people to go to his website and look at Tom Brady’s two-year old son’s junk?” Doug Meehan from WTKK 96.9 asked before answering his question:
“He is using it as pornography.”
“As soon as you start making reference to a child’s sex organs (with photos),” wrote Ryan Durling of SBNation.com,
“you’ve gone to creepytown.”
Glenn Ordway of WEEI’s Big Show spent a good chunk of his Friday show lambasting Portnoy.
Portnoy took to YouTube to defend his actions. “It’s a fucking little kid and his wee!” “We saw the Brady’s kid picture,” he also told New England Cable News, “and basically I saw it and thought it was a funny joke.” His funny joke went as such:
Just swinging low like a boss. That’s what MVP QB’s do. They impregnate chicks and give birth to big dicked kids.
To paraphrase Philip Roth in Portnoy’s Complaint: “He is one confused monkey, and, I’m afraid, not too very bright.”
The problem here is that you are taking on two of the most popular and power people in the entire world. Dave Wedge of the Boston Herald (and sometimes the Weekly Dig) reported: “An FBI spokeswoman said the agency ‘is aware of the matter.’” Gee, ya think? Portnoy received a cease and desist order from the Brazilian photo agency who produced the pictures. He took them down, then put them back up. More free publicity ensued, but as advertisers heard the negative feedback, they began to pull their ads off BarstoolSports.com. Daisy Buchanan’s was featured directly across from the photo, and pulled their ads. Rumors have it that Quirk Automotive and Coors have also left Barstool behind.
“For anybody to say this gives pedophiles ammo or I’m a pedophile or it had any sexual connotation,” Portnoy later wrote, “than I promise you you’re more fucked up in the head than me.”
“Kid has a howitzer for a 2 year old. Get over it.”
“Howitzer,” however, could be interpreted as a sexual connotation. Portnoy even churned out multiple t-shirt designs (with the child’s penis represented as an erect Howitzer cannon) that said as much. As Roth writes again in Portnoy’s Complaint: “Words aren’t only bombs and bullets, no, they’re little gifts, containing meanings.”
And so, finally, detectives from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office visited the Milton home of David Portnoy. Portnoy reported they were, in fact, state troopers:
I met with them. They asked me to take it down in the best interest of everybody involved. I told them I’d call them back in an hour with my decision. And then took it down.
Hundreds of Portnoy’s trolls called him out. “Everyone at the grocery store I shop at has been calling you a chode,” one wrote. “I can’t make stuff like that up.”
Portnoy thereby found himself between trolls turned against him, Staties and pederasts. Not a pretty place. After he was kicked off WEEI, Portnoy was counting on the publicity from appearing on Howard Stern. But even the shock jock was not in his corner. “Dave,” Stern began, “people said you must take this down, it’s kiddie porn. And I saw the picture and, quite frankly, I do think it’s kiddie porn.”
The irony is Portnoy’s Complaint, by Roth’s own definition, is “A disorder in which strongly felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature …”
In an interview with WCVB, former prosecutor Wendy Murphy said:
This is a very serious felony in Massachusetts … The whole purpose was to get people to look at (the child’s) genitalia, so absolutely—20 years maximum and a $50,000 fine on top of that.
At press time, Media Farm still found the offending pictures on Barstool Sports’ server. We can’t help but think a war between Portnoy and one of the world’s richest couples is not over. Not by a long shot.
In the final words of Portnoy’s Complaint:
Now we may perhaps to begin?