Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Right-wing cesspools Rumble and Barstool Sports announce “wide-ranging partnership”

The partnership comes as Rumble attempts to present itself as a diverse platform and grow its audience

On January 22, extreme right-wing video sharing platform Rumble announced “a wide-ranging partnership” with Barstool Sports, a “satirical sports and men’s lifestyle blog” that is actually a cesspool of bigotry. This partnership marks another step in Rumble’s efforts to whitewash right-wing figures and help them reach new audiences.

  • Barstool Sports and Rumble announced a new partnership

    • On January 22, Rumble announced that it had entered into a “wide-ranging partnership” with Barstool Sports. Under the agreement, Barstool will bring its sports and lifestyle content to Rumble and “will market and promote Rumble as their preferred video home.” Barstool will gain access to Rumble’s cloud services for video hosting and sharing, and “both companies will help bring brand advertisers to the Rumble platform.” [Rumble, 1/22/24]
    • Heads of both companies described the partnership in terms of Rumble’s potential growth. “With the power of Barstool Sports, we are going to help Rumble be the top player in the video, cloud, and livestreaming space,” said Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski said, “Rumble is quickly emerging as a leading platform for the under-30 demographic, and we’re excited for Barstool Sports to be a significant part of our rapid growth.” [Rumble, 1/22/24
    • In an interview with Pavlovski, Portnoy revealed that the agreement includes “75, 80% stock equity” in Rumble. After the partnership agreement was announced, Rumble’s stock price went up roughly 36%, adding approximately $502 million to the company’s value. [Barstool Sports, Davey Day Trader, 1/23/24; Bloomberg, 1/22/23]
    • According to the press release about the partnership, Barstool Sports has grown its audience by 194% in the last three years and reached 1.6 billion podcast downloads. During Barstool’s upfront presentation for 2023, Portnoy and then-CEO Erika Ayers Nardini noted that the company had 27 billion video views across its content. [Rumble, 1/22/24; Business Wire, 9/16/22; Variety, 1/26/24]
  • Barstool Sports and its founder Dave Portnoy have a long history of making bigoted and hateful remarks

    • Portnoy and other Barstool Sports personalities have made unhinged misogyny and bigotry central to their brand. Going back to at least 2010, Barstool figures have sexualized minors, perpetuated and encouraged sexism and misogyny, made a number of racist comments, and perpetuated anti-LGBTQ attitudes during their podcasts, livestreams, and other events. [Media Matters, 8/18/21]
    • Portnoy has defended some of his past remarks about rape and sexual assault, claiming they were “supposed to be funny,” adding that he “never backed down” from his comments. The comments in question came from a 2010 blog post in which Portnoy said that some women “kind of deserve to be raped.” [Media Matters, 5/10/21, 8/18/21]
    • Portnoy has also made a number of racist remarks while appearing on Barstool shows, including using racial slurs and sharing images of a Barstool employee in blackface. Portnoy claimed that NFL player Colin Kaepernick looks like “an ISIS guy” with a “terrorist beard [and] terrorist skin” and said that he looked like Osama bin Laden. [Media Matters, 6/29/20]
    • Portnoy used a 2020 interview with then-President Donald Trump to attack Anthony Fauci and push conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine. In another Barstool livestream, Portnoy, sitting in front of a sign calling Fauci a “midget fuck,” said Fauci is “one of the great criminals of our civilization.” [Media Matters, 7/24/20, 5/13/20]
    • Portnoy’s history of bigoted remarks has been a source of controversy for Barstool’s previous partnerships. A podcasting partnership with ESPN was canceled after just one episode over sexist comments Portnoy made about a network host. [Sports Illustrated, 10/23/17]
  • Rumble is an extreme video-sharing platform overrun with hateful content about the QAnon conspiracy, calls for violence, and racist attacks

    • Rumble prides itself on its lack of enforcement while embracing far-right figures who have been banned on other platforms, partnering with extreme figures, and profiting from the spread of their dangerous rhetoric. The platform has been financially backed by numerous right-wing figures, including billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, former Fox News host Dan Bongino, and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH). [Media Matters, 11/8/23]
    • An August 2023 report from Media Matters that analyzed Rumble’s “Battle Leaderboard Top 50” found that QAnon channels appeared every day during the time frame studied. The report, which analyzed the leaderboard from February through July 2023, also found that nearly 95% of videos in the site’s daily top 50 ranking belonged to right-wing or conspiracy theorist channels. [Media Matters, 8/23/23]
    • Rumble creators have spread egregiously antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant rhetoric since the start of the Israel-Gaza war. In a segment uploaded to Rumble, Infowars host Harrison Smith claimed that an upcoming world war would be “less states-versus-states” and more “migrants fighting the natives” of Western countries. [Media Matters, 10/26/23]
    • Far-right figures on Rumble, including white nationalist Stew Peters, have also called for violence. Peters has called for the murder of Catholic Charities workers during a livestream on the platform, and also aired a segment on Rumble calling for the executions of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Additionally, white nationalist Nick Fuentes uploaded a Rumble video in which he fantasized that “me and Hitler would team up” to kill a Black man who allegedly littered in his neighborhood, and called on his followers “to prepare to catch an aggravated battery charge if you see this in your society.” [Media Matters, 10/30/23, 9/28/23, 7/31/23]
  • The partnership with Barstool is Rumble's latest attempt to present itself as a diverse platform and grow its audience

    • Rumble presents itself as a diverse platform with a cadre of exclusive content creators, but most are right-wing pundits who traffic in conspiracy theories and bigoted rhetoric. While many of Rumble’s exclusive creators focus on political commentary — ranging from far-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer to right-wing podcast host Steven Crowder — the platform has also partnered with prominent video game streamers Ricegum and Mizkif, hip-hop commentator DJ Akademiks, and former YouTube prankster JiDion, among others. [Twitter/X, accessed 8/23/23; Media Matters, 4/11/23]
    • Since February 2023, Rumble has partnered with Power Slap, a slap fighting league established by UFC President Dana White, in an effort to break into sports content. Power Slap had previously aired on TBS but was canceled after concussion experts, competitive fighters, and members of Congress all raised concerns over the dangers posed by the competition. [Rumble, 2/27/23, 3/13/23; Media Matters, 4/20/23]
    • In 2022, Donald Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, partnered with Rumble, migrating its website and mobile applications to Rumble’s cloud services and joining Rumble’s advertising platform. Rumble’s cloud service continues to support video streaming and sharing on Truth Social. [PR Newswire, 4/22/22; Reuters, 8/23/22]
    • Rumble partnered with the Republican National Committee to host the official livestreams of the GOP’s 2024 presidential primary debates. The partnership linked mainstream Republican politics with the bigoted and extreme content found on the platform. [Media Matters, 11/8/23]