Somerville mayor sues Barstool, radio host over fraudulent interview

Somerville mayor sues Barstool, radio host over fraudulent interview

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has filed a lawsuit against Boston Sports Radio Host Kirk Minihane and the website Barstool Sports alleging fraud, according to a release.

In a video posted by Barstool Sports, Kirk Minihane calls Curtatone and impersonates a Boston Globe reporter throughout a recorded interview.

"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 says of the lawsuit. "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."

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The mayor has been critical of Barstool Sports and its supporters' treatment of women on social media.

"Barstool flaunts its lack of respect for most things, but it needs to respect the laws that govern the business it conducts," Curtatone said in a release. "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."

In the lawsuit, Curtatone criticizes Barstool founder Dave Portnoy's "reputation for publishing crass content on Barstool." He writes the founder has a "well-documented affinity for using demeaning and derogatory language when referring to women."

Portnoy said that he's not worried about the lawsuit, and he had some colorful words about the Somerville mayor.

"Joe Curtatone’s a moron. He’s a flat-out idiot and a moron," Portnoy said.

Minihane responded by tweeting that he is looking for a countersuit, seeking "$500 billion."

Curtatone said Barstool Sports has "been a platform and launching point for racist, sexist, misogynistic and white supremacy all under the guise of sports.”

The war of words between the sports blog and the local mayor continues as a legal battle.

"Never have I experienced such fraudulent unethical conduct and it’s really disturbing and that needs to be called out and it’s just wrong," Curtatone said.

It started when Curtatone criticized the NHL and the Boston Bruins for partnering with Barstool Sports during the Stanley Cup Final.

They provided rally towels for Game 2.

"I offered to talk to him, to debate him publicly. He refused. Kirk tried to interview him. He refused. He'll only talk to people he knows, so Kirk, on his own, did an interview with him," Portnoy said.

In his lawsuit filed Monday in Middlesex County Superior Court, Curtatone alleges Minihane tricked him into doing the interview for his first podcast.

"I thought I was being interviewed by Boston Globe columnist because the defendant identified himself as Kevin Cullen from the Boston Globe," Curtatone said.

The interview is posted on Barstool's website.

The mayor's lawsuit claims Minihane violated the law by pretending to be Cullen.

The mayor is seeking "all available remedies to him afforded under the law, including damages, punitive damages, costs, attorneys' fees, and any other relief permissible."

Portnoy says the podcast was recorded before Minihane's first day, but he stands by it.

"I thought it was very funny and I’d probably do it again," Portnoy said. "But, there’s no damages because Kirk didn’t misrepresent anything else outside of who he was. He didn’t mispresent anything Joe Curtatone said."

Curtatone is asking for a jury trial. No court dates have been set yet. If he were to be awarded any monetary damages, he said he'll donate them to the Respon Women's Shelter in Somerville.