Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy didn’t spend the early days of the pandemic lockdown twiddling his thumbs with no sports to watch or write about on TV. He was a prolific day trader, so he has a fair amount of knowledge and experience when it come to what’s been going on with the prolific rise of stock prices for GameStop, AMC Entertainment and others this week.
When he learned of the brokerage Robinhood preventing users from buying GameStop stock in what appeared to be an assist to over-leveraged hedge funds, he was appalled. “I’ve been trading heavily since quarantine started and I was shocked by this,” Portnoy told Fox News Thursday night. “I personally did invest in AMC and Nokia. Those are two of the stocks that the Reddit guys and the Wall Street Bets guys were pushing. I believed in the power of the Internet.”
“When I saw what Robinhood was doing — ironically Robin Hood [the app’s eponym] took from the rich and gave to the poor even though they do the exact opposite — I was stunned. I think it’s criminal. I think there has to be an investigation. I think people have to go to jail.”
Portnoy has built an incredibly successful media brand on his brashness and fearlessness. It would take a lot to rock the world of someone who is essentially a shock jock behind a keyboard, but he said this is something completely different than what he’s seen before. “Like, in 20 years of me doing Barstool, it’s the most shocked I’ve been … When you have AOC and Donald Trump Jr. both on the same side of an issue, you know something is dramatically wrong,” he said.
Portnoy was referencing the fact that both Republican and Democrats have actually found common ground in their disgust of Robinhood’s actions.