Those who love sports and edgy humor are familiar with the popular website, Barstool Sports, which is basically a print version of Spike TV. For most of the past decade, Barstool has provided takes on sports and pop culture from rabid fans and experts alike. With over 900,000 followers on Twitter, the site’s reach and impact are undeniable.
However, a very real problem has entered corporate culture – specifically in companies with mostly men – where female employee claim harassment, sexual or otherwise, forcing the company to settle, issue statements, and/or dramatically change its environment. Because of Barstool’s edgy nature, it only makes sense that the company proactively take measures to protect itself against this new trend – and apparently, that’s exactly what they’ve done.
According to a leaked contract, Barstool has some very specific house rules.
The summary of the contract, pictured below, is that Barstool will, at times, dive into racial, sexual, ethnic, and other types of humor that aren’t Marie Claire-approved. What better way to avoid any confusion about a job than for the employer to explicitly and boldly state exactly what the corporate culture contains? If the prospective employee is comfortable with it all, they can sign on the dotted line.
Prospective college football analyst, Elika Sadeghi, clearly had a problem with this legal clause.
They wanted me to sign this. I refused, for multiple reasons. I ultimately decided I didn’t want it, even if I was exempt from signing this. pic.twitter.com/3psAPIvKrQ
— Elika (@steakNstiffarms) October 11, 2017
According to Sadeghi, she felt like she was signing away her right to speak up so she turned down a job with Barstool altogether. She posted a long Twitter thread, setting an underlying tone about this situation by reflecting on the recent news, especially regarding Harvey Weinstein’s rapidly growing scandals. According to Sadeghi, contracts like these leave women, minorities, and any other member of an oppressed group powerless if they need the money and have nowhere else to go. Deadspin called it her right to be offended (someone hasn’t read the Constitution).
Barstool president Dave Portnoy issued a video response, defending the clause as a legal move, and called out Sadeghi’s ungrateful attitude.
“She’s the biggest fraud”, said Portnoy. “She said to us (that) she never had the feeling that we treat anybody with disrespect. She didn’t think that was the Barstool employees.”
In the video, he challenged skeptics to talk to women Barstool has promoted over the years and ask them about any possible harassment in the office. This doesn’t exactly sound like someone with anything to hide.
Portnoy compared the legal clause to standard practices of comedy shows like SNL – that you can’t write for them if you are easily offended. In addition, Barstool CEO Erika Nardini (wait, a woman??) backed up Portnoy’s defense of the company’s values, stating every employee of Barstool signs this contract, there is a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, and that if you won’t sign the deal, you probably aren’t going to make Barstool top-notch.
These are some of the best, most accepting, funniest people I have ever worked with and I am proud to be a part of this company and culture.
— Erika K Nardini (@EKANardini) October 12, 2017
According to Sadeghi’s LinkedIn page, she’s had a career in advertising and marketing, and has been featured on ESPN and ESPNU programs. After turning down Barstool, she wound up announcing a deal with NextVR, a virtual reality company that aims to have fans experience being at a game while watching it from the comfort of their home. In a move to pander to the SJW crowd, NextVR commended Sadeghi on her bravery.
We’re excited @steakNstiffarms has decided to join us as an announcer & are inspired by her courage and strength to voice her story.
— NextVR (@nextvr) October 12, 2017
At the end of the day, this is much ado about nothing. Either you like a company culture or you don’t. Either you sign the contract or you don’t. Props to Barstool for being so forthcoming with what employees will experience.
Neil Dwyer is a graduate of the University of Miami, and is a political and sports broadcaster, as well as a freelance writer.