Over the course of the past few years, Barstool Sports has transformed from a little-known blog into a massive global brand, while at the same time gaining a reputation as one of the internet’s most toxic properties.
Like Axe Body Spray or Monster Energy Drinks, Barstool appeals to a very specific "type."
The average Barstool fan is the sort of guy who saves up his Adderall for the weekend, frequently uses the word "cuck" in casual conversation, and attends Boston sporting events mainly for the opportunity to "accidentally" spill his beer on anyone wearing the opposing team’s hat.
Basically, if you take an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience and replace the parts about hallucinogens with in-depth discussions of the virtues and flaws of various adult film stars, you’ll get an idea of what the typical Barstool content is like.
The "Sports" part of the name is really just a suggestion at this point.
Obviously, we’re having a little fun at Barstool’s expense right now, but the truth is, founder Dave Portnoy deserves a world of credit for spotting a niche, filling it, and building a brand valued at half a billion dollars in the process.
The internet — specifically the all-important "males aged 18-34" demographic — was calling out for an edgier brand of content, and Portnoy delivered.
Of course, he owes much of Barstool’s success to the people around him, specifically CEO Erika Nardini, who this week finds herself embroiled in the sort of scandal that has everything.
This story is the celebrity gossip equivalent of a nightclub Bill Hader would describe while in character as "Stefon."
According to a new report from Page Six, Nardini — who is married with two kids — has been accused of brazenly carrying on an affair with her squash instructor who has the gloriously "adulterous country club guy" name of Yvain "Swiss" Badan.
Badan is also married, and sources say the affair was exposed when his wife realized that Swiss and Erika’s 8 pm squash lessons often lasted until 2 or 3 in the morning.
“Cynthia and Swiss were like the local golden couple,” said one insider.
“Every waiter and bartender in town knew them and everyone thought, ‘Cynthia and Swiss are always so happy.’ They were madly in love.”
That all changed when Swiss’ wife discovered text messages on his phone in which he and Nardini fantasized about their future together.
“They were talking about how they were going to have babies and dogs," says the insider.
Sources indicate that Nardini and her husband have separated, but have not yet divorced.
And in an extremely Page Six flourish, the outlet notes that Nardini has rented an apartment, where she and Swiss will be free to "work on her forehand stroke into the wee hours."
Stay classy, Page Six!
While the Nardinis have yet to legally end their marriage, Cynthia Baden filed for divorce from Swiss last month.
As Page Six notes, this is not the only sex scandal to rock the world of Barstool this month.
Just last week, a sex tape featuring Portnoy made the rounds on social media.
Many have noted that the Nardini situation mirrors an earlier incident in which Portnoy’s longtime girlfriend was caught cheating on him with her Soul Cycle instructor.
Following that episode, Barstool fans stalked and harassed the Soul Cycle rando.
Hopefully, nothing like that will happen in this case.
But sadly, when social media anonymity meets an army of angry bros, pretty much anything can happen.