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ESPN Cancels 'Barstool Van Talk,' Everyone Loses!

By Dan Hamamura | TV | October 23, 2017 |

By Dan Hamamura | TV | October 23, 2017 |

Here is a story with no winners.

Barstool Sports, which seems to mostly be a place where dudes give HOT TAKES and also have to periodically defend themselves by saying they’re not sexist because they attack everyone equally, recently premiered a show on ESPN called Barstool Van Talk, which aired at 1 am on ESPN2 last Wednesday.

It was a silly, not particularly funny, but generally inoffensive show, which is important only because ESPN canceled Barstool Van Talk on Monday after a single episode.

It appears the show was canceled not because of anything related to the show itself, but because of the general internet outrage at the association with the Barstool brand, and very specific internal outrage from employees at ESPN, publicly voiced by Sam Ponder, who had been attacked by Barstool (and in particular, Barstool founder/President Dave Portnoy) before.

(This bit is offensive. Sorry.)

In his this-is-not-an-apology video address posted to Barstool, Portnoy wildly speculated about the intentions of the ESPN employees who were upset with their employer (suggesting that they were jealous or wanted their own show and used Barstool’s prior controversies as an excuse), blamed ESPN for not understanding who they were getting in business with (punctuated with a classic ‘I’ve said shitty things about men too, so clearly I’m not sexist’ justification), and quoted The Dark Knight, but specifically quoted Alfred’s line about the criminals turning to someone they don’t understand, which literally makes Barstool THE JOKER in this scenario.

Barstool claimed victory by saying that this setback will only make them stronger (Portnoy, in particular, tends to use this sort of language whenever he tries to hit back at critics, like a bearded, bro Trump), but the company’s majority owners, the Chernin Group, probably aren’t thrilled about this.

ESPN, meanwhile, managed to screw up twice in particularly spectacular fashion, generating a lot of bad press for signing a deal with a company that offends one segment of their viewership (and employees), only to panic and cancel the deal, offending another segment.

Sam Ponder, of course, will have to avoid her mentions pretty much forever, although given that this is Twitter we’re talking about, that was sadly already true before this.

Finally, I’d like to apologize if you read this all the way through, because I’m worried that you might feel the same way I do, which is roughly:


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Dan is the Comedy Editor and Podjiba Host. You can listen to him scream into the void on Twitter, or listen to him host the weekly TV podcast Podjiba.