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Somerville mayor sues Barstool Sports; alleges criminal violation in fraudulent interview

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone sued Barstool Sports and contributor Kirk Minihane today for an interview about the Barstool/Bruins towel controversy he claims Minihane conducted without his permission - while pretending to be the Globe's Kevin Cullen.

In the suit, filed in Middlesex Superior Court, Curtatone says this violates the Massachusetts wiretap law, which requires a person's consent to record them over the phone.

Curtatone says Minihane to get all Minihanish after Curtatone criticized the Bruins for handing out rally towels printed up by Barstool Sports, which has a reputation for crass misogyny. Curtatone tweeted on May 29:

As a fairly rabid sports fan one of the more regrettable things I've seen is the attempt to disguise misogyny, racism & general right wing lunacy under a "sports" heading. Our sports teams & local sports fans need to push back to stress that's not us.

In response, Curtatone charges, Barstool founder David Portnoy called him "a professional criminal" and said his family "rape, extort, stab and arson [sic]" people."

Then, Curtatone continues, Minihane tried to interview him about the whole thing, but Curtatone said no, so Minihane began trying to get an interview by pretending to be the Globe's Kevin Cullen, which Curtatone says worked, on June 6:

Minihane went so far as to alter his normal method of speaking to sound like Kevin Cullen.

Minihane is and was aware that he needed to obtain permission from Curtatone to audio record their conversation.

Minihane, posing as Cullen, asked for Mayor Curtatone's consent to record him during the interview by stating "I'm just going to record this so we have it, is that good?"

Mayor Curtatone, believing he was speaking to a representative of a legitimate news organization, the Boston Globe, responded, "no problem."

But since he wasn't actually talking to Cullen, that constitutes fraud and a violation of the state wiretapping law, since Curtatone says he had refused to talk to Minihane as Minihane.

Curtatone is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

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Comments

Puffy nut mangriefs rarely due.

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To impersonate someone is illegal.

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Voting closed 43

Lawsuit seems reasonable, except the part about the Globe being a “legitimate news organization.”

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So edgy, so witty. Mangriefs. Get it? Men are so evil and icky.

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Brah you Triggered ?

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Just don't like double standards.

If I tossed generalized insults at women, I'd be condemned. We're all 100% equal right? Well, practice what you preach, sweetie.

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Voting closed 59

has he made a statement?

Barstool is the news equivalent of the drunk frat boy with roid rage at the party.

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various "statements."

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Senseless surveys, bosses from husband or wives work etc.
I dont know the law but him being a politician probably hinders his case a bit more than Joe Q Public.

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He is not a complete idiot (presumably, neither is his lawyer). The lawsuit isn't over the impersonation per se but the alleged violation of a state law that requires a person's consent to record a phone conversation with them. Yes, Curtatone agreed, but he thought he was talking to Kevin Cullen, so his assent was obtained fraudulently, at least according to the suit.

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But he was easily fooled.
I still wonder if his prominence as a public figure and politician puts him in a different category, like when one Sues for libel.
It will be interesting.

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Please explain how? Unless you knew these guys personally how would you be able to tell who you were speaking with?

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I hate to be the one to break it to you, but those morning radio "calls" are staged using actors or other radio station employees.

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Adam, it's worth noting that Mayor Curtatone has committed to donating any damages awarded from this suit to the RESPOND women's shelter in Somerville.
It's important to make clear that he's not doing this for personal gain.

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If Minihane and barstool's lawyers have half a brain, an open question they should settle this with a large donation to the Mayors charity, a very public apology and promise however dubious to behave better in the future.

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Minihane was not employed by Barstoon. I believe his employment started today.

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minihane made him look ridiculous, and a man in his position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous!!!!

anyone know how kevin cullen is feeling about all of this? im sure sully or fizty must have said something to him at JJ Foley's over the weekend.

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Cullen was driving down Gallivan Blvd over the weekend and Jane Richard flagged him down to tell him about this.

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With Fitzy, Obie and Murph, all firefighter pals (who never heard of him.)

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His beef started over barstool giving out towels for the B's. Curatone, stop virtue signaling. You look ridiculous.

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You understand other brands had "activations" on B's towels during the series and the Bruins didn't have to do that with Barstool? You look dense.

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Why specifically shouldn't the Bruins partner with Barstool? Do you have specific examples why?

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But this is an informative read on the organization run by Portnoy:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-barstool-sports-culture-of-online-h...

There's also a Deadspin article on it. But before I get deflection about Deadspin being terrible, too, that could be true, but that doesn't negate anything that's said in their article.

And before anyone retorts with their charitable efforts and fundraising: bad people are capable of doing good things, re: broken clocks.

Mind you, Curtatone didn't chime in until later in the day, long after "Stoolies" had been piling on (read: getting triggered and having a complete tantrum) Boston Herald Bruins Beat Reporter Marisa Ingemi for having the audacity to ask the Bruins to comment on their partnership with Barstool for this so called "activation" (sorry for the quotes, I just think the term is ridiculous). That's it. All she did was ask for the Bruins to comment, and immediately she started getting harassed by people online.

The Bruins partnered with other businesses like Ticketmaster for their towels. There was nothing that compelled them to do business with Barstool and there are likely several brands that would have been more worthy of partnering with.

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What's next, buzzfeed? Huffpo?

What do they talk about? Blackout Barstool and unsubstantiated claims of date rapes? "Mysogynist" Smokeshow of the Day posts (where women nominate themselves and send their own pictures in". Almost all of Barstool's upper management is female, nobody there has been accused of any impropriety, and it's massively popular.

The idea that ANYONE is responsible for what their users/readers do/so on twitter is ABSURD. Read the Boston Globe comments section, or this comment section. If I were to post something like "gee, I actually agree w/Trump's economic policies", see what gets said about me. What happens if I go on twitter and @ Beyonce saying I don't believe she's very talented? I'd get crushed by the Beyhive. does that mean companies shouldn't do business with Beyonce? Anonymous message boards/comments sections is the Wild West. If you post something provocative about a popular website/personality, be prepared for the backlash.

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man's "harmless fratty bro-dude yucking it up" is another's "vile cesspool of anti-semitism, misogyny, date-rapiness, and other assorted horrors." Your mileage may vary.

Me, I want nothing to do with Portnoy or his fans. Lots of disgusting, hateful shit is popular.

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God help us...

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Go ahead and find something about his journalism to critique. He's a freelancer. Otherwise, Doug, you have no basis for objection.

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Vice, Huff Po, Salon, Daily Beast... I’m sensing a pattern here :-/

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Just because you don't believe it doesn't make it untrue.

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As does NY Times, WaPo, Mother Jones, et all.

A fine level headed group.

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the fact that you don't like it, so to you, that makes it untrue. It doesn't, but you do you, bud. Maybe one of these days you'll grow up.

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I could be mistaken, but are those publications not left leaning and hardly what one would refer to as unbiased sources?

I may be wrong about this.

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They have a host of contributors to their editorials that fall on either side of the aisle. Notable conservatives are Rick Wilson and Matt Lewis. Rick's a big part of the reason why Republicans took some 1000k seats in various offices ranging from state and local to federal elections.

As far as hard journalism goes, they've been pretty good in their reporting since I started following them around late 2017. Betsy Woodruff seems to keep her cards held pretty tight, but from what I've been able to find so far, she seems to be regarded as right leaning. When I read stories from her, I don't sense any sort of partisan slant to it. Other colleagues of hers at the Daily Beast like Sam Stein and Erin Banco I consider to be reputable reporters/hard journalists. I can't really speak much for the Cheif Editor at TDB, Noah Shactman, as far as political leanings go. I've disagreed with some of his editorial decisions (for example, they ran a "story" about the "Smiley Face Killer" conspiracy once), but I am mindful of the fact that despite having reputable journalists and running hard news stories, they do tend to have a tabloid angle.

Again, with the Barstool story they ran, it was all based on factual reporting and wasn't an Op-Ed. One particular piece of branding I've seen the Daily Beast use is "Non-partisan, but Not Neutral." I've found that to be more or less accurate. Like I said, I think it's more useful to review the authors of columns, op-eds, or stories than it is to whitewash an entire news outlet. You're not wrong in thinking that some of them have more left-leaning editorial prerogatives, but I think that comes out much more in op-eds than it does in hard news stories.

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What's next, buzzfeed? Huffpo?

What are you asking? Is there something about The Daily Beast you object to? Do you think that just because someone writes something for Deadspin it's not valid or that it can't be actual journalism? Who made you the gatekeeper of any of this?

Barstool's upper management is female

So that means the company, others associated with it, or its readers are incapable of doing bad or misogynistic stuff? Because I already covered that. They can.

The idea that ANYONE is responsible for what their users/readers do/so on twitter is ABSURD.

This seems to be an obfuscation of the point, although I suspect you probably know that. Portnoy is responsible for it because.....he encourages it. What's actually absurd is the way you just dismiss this. It's laughably cowardly, especially coming from a crowd that prides itself on how "tough" it is.

What happens if I go on twitter and @ Beyonce saying I don't believe she's very talented?

Why would you say that on Twitter then, when you could say it between friends and not be a dumbass? And how is this at all comparable to Ingemi asking the Bruins if they'd like to comment on the brand activation. Here's a hint: it has absolutely nothing to do with it. Not to mention, did you see what the Bruins responded to her with? "We have no comment on this brand activation at this time." Translation: "We knew this was controversial and did it anyway."

Quite frankly, the way you're willing to go to bat for Barstool and the absolutely abhorrent bullshit it and its readers do frequently illustrates that you're part of the problem. And look at the way you clutched your pearls over "mangrief" in the other comments. You are incapable of criticism, yet you think others deserve it. Absolutely insane.

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beyonce has told her bee hive to calm down:
https://fastnewsassam.com/2019/06/07/beyonces-publicist-rips-her-fan-bas...

else, staying silent would make it look like she's cosigning.

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But, come on, Prez, clearly, you're more cunning than this.

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Curatone has no case. The wiretap law only requires the recorded person to have knowledge that they are being recorded, permission isn't required. Minihane told Curtatone he was recording and Curtatone was OK with that. A Mayor, like a police officer, should expect that all aspects of his official life will be recorded, especially when the caller says so. There is no law against impersonating another except for impersonating police and certain public servants.

Most revealing is that Curtatone apparently felt a recorded interview with the Globe's Cullen was a safe space but Barstool was risky. So much for the paper "afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted."

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which is fundamental to the Commonwealth's archaic 'wiretap' law has hardly been compromised here, when the plaintiff (a public official) is willfully going on record with someone he assumes to be a journalist for the most widely read newspaper in the state.

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Most revealing is that Curtatone apparently felt a recorded interview with the Globe's Cullen was a safe space but Barstool was risky.

His decision was probably much more likely that he knew, much like engaging with you, it would have been entirely in bad faith on Minihane's side, and a complete waste of his time.

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Perhaps he just didn't want to converse with fecal matter. The don't call it "the stool" for nothing.

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big up joe curtatone. he was my babe ruth coach in the '90's.
also, as alderman he and terrio, tarpley, cato, ... started a teen assembly where a bunch of high schoolers would meet in alderman quarters and budget for things like basketball tournaments and teen center. kept me out of trouble.

and if his lawsuit is successful, he can continue his plan to dominate the metro:
https://m.facebook.com/jcurtatone/posts/422776111181963

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Is the first time ever Curtatone wasn't the bad guy? That's an accomplishment...

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Typically he is a lahooo-sa-herrrr.

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