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Barstool Sports guru offers rona-weary business owners a chance to belly up to his bar – of financial aid

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As if he wasn’t enough of one already, the pandemic has made a cult figure out of Dave Portnoy, founder of the Barstool Sports media empire.

Throughout the crisis, El Pres, as he’s also known, has become a vocal and visible insurgent against coronavirus policies that are often untethered from reason or science. Just last week, for example, he blasted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for shutting down indoor dining at New York City restaurants – even though data from Cuomo’s own administration revealed that eateries are responsible for transmitting less than 2 percent of all COVID cases.

“New York City just closed indoor dining. What do they think is going to happen? What do they think is going to happen to thousands of restaurants – they’re done!” Portnoy bellowed in a rant view by 4.5 million Twitter users. “The bar and restaurant industry and small businesses have been squeezed and squeezed and squeezed, and they’ve tried everything. They’ve been as creative as possible!”

“These people aren’t getting their livelihoods back,” Portnoy continued, after noting that business owners have diligently complied with other preventative measures, even though they often lack uniformity, even from county to county. “If somebody wants to go out, where do you think they’re going? House parties!” he added. “It doesn’t even make sense … the people who will be going to these restaurants are still going out, I promise you. All you’re doing is ruining thousands and thousands and thousands of lives.”

“In this country, politicians are taking away to the right to earn a living. It’s that simple and it’s insanity,” he concluded.

Well, now Portnoy is doing something he asserts the government won’t do: help corona-weary business owners.

According to Fox News, Portnoy on Thursday announced the launch of “The Barstool Fund,” a pot of $500,000 that will help troubled small businesses with expenses such as rent or taxes.

Applicants, Portnoy said, must still be paying all of their employees, and the must offer detailed plans of how the intend to send the money from the fund.

“If you meet that and you’re a small business that’s been around for a little bit, or maybe not, but if it’s a gym, restaurant, bar and you’re not going to be able to survive the next couple of months, send us an email,” Portnoy said in a second Twitter video posted Thursday.

“Once you are in our program, we will pay whatever you need, the necessities you need, the money you need to get through this thing and give you a fair chance to run your business,” Portnoy added. “These people aren’t going out of business because they aren’t successful or not making money,” Portnoy said. “It’s because they have no other choice. They have been dealt a hand nobody can play.”

If the well runs dry, he added, he will start crowdfunding campaigns to replenish it.

And, as Portnoy fans have come to see during the pandemic, Portnoy made clear the impetus for this push: “Nobody,” he said, “seems to care in the government, or at least they not doing anything acting like they care.”

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