WOBURN, Mass. (CN) – Reaching Monday across the Charles, the mayor of a Boston suburb sued Barstool Sports over a phone interview he says was recorded illegally.
Represented in Middlesex Superior Court by lawyers at Brody Hardoon, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone brought the complaint 11 days after he says Barstool reporter Kirk Minihane called up his office pretending to work for the Boston Globe.
Curtatone says Minihane fraudulently got his consent to have the conversation recorded, then posted the interview online.
Fittingly, the clash between Curtatone and Barstool stems from a disagreement over Boston sports. After the Boston Herald reported last month that Bruins hockey fans were given towels printed with Barstool’s logo during the recent Stanley Cup series, Curtatone was critical of the NHL team’s partnership with the sports blog he noted had a reputation for “misogyny, racism & general right-wing lunacy.”
Curatone, who has been mayor of Somerville since 2004, brought his suit against Barstool and Minihane but notes that his entire family faced a “vitriolic personal attack” from Barstool president David Portnoy over the Bruins towel controversy.
He says his office never received a request for an interview from Minihane before the reporter decided to impersonate Boston Globe reporter Kevin Cullen.
“Minihane recorded himself breaking the law, impersonating a Boston Globe reporter to obtain an interview with me, then Barstool posted the interview on its website,” Curtatone said in a statement. “It’s a clear violation of Massachusetts General Law, which forbids audio recording a person without his/her consent, and you can’t obtain that consent through fraudulent means.”
Barstool Sports, which relocated from the Boston area to New York City in 2016, has faced backlash for stealing jokes and promoting sexism, such as by running a poll that asked viewers which female Boston newscasters they would rather “wed, bed or kill.” Curtatone quotes Barstool president Portnoy as endeavoring to repopularize the use of the word “cunt” on his radio show.
“Barstool flaunts its lack of respect for most things, but it needs to respect the laws that govern the business it conducts,” Curtatone said. “I’m not doing this for personal gain. I’ll be donating any damages awarded from this suit to the RESPOND women’s shelter in Somerville. This is a simple case of holding Minihane and Barstool accountable for their deceptive and illegal behavior.”
Minihane and Portnoy did not respond to emails seeking comment, but Minihane did post a critique of Curtatone on social media Monday.
“I don’t like to get political, but if an idiot like Curtatone, the Somerville mayor who is a big liberal, says stuff that is pandering or full of shit, I’ll call him out,” said Minihane.