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Portnoy versus Dragon Pizza OR Portnoy versus Himself?

Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports, and pizza review fame, recently reviewed Drago Pizza of Somerville, MA. Portnoy gave the pizza a 6.4 out of 10 and then got into an F-bomb-laden confrontation with the shop's owner.


Portnoy posted the video with the title of the “Worst Pizza Place in America.”

Almost immediately, Portnoy’s fans attacked Drago Pizza on Yelp and other review sites.


But rather than sink Dragon Pizza the onslaught seems to have had a POSITIVE effect:


Dragon Pizza shared in an Instagram post that it had to close its doors on Tuesday to prepare for the week after customers completely sold out the place. - NY Post


Portnoy is a polarizing figure with a massive fan base. But it appears that he also has an enormous number of haters.


Let’s go to the data from The Next Generation Fandom Survey 2023:


First, a generational breakdown:



Across all generations, Portnoy has more Haters than Fans. It is especially bad with older groups where Portnoy has little support. Portnoy does best with Millennials, with 22% Fans and 27% Haters. Overall, about 12% of the sample indicates they were Portnoy fans compared to 35% who actively disliked Portnoy. Portnoy has a massive fan base. But he also has a massive following of haters.


Second, a breakdown by political affiliation:




The generational numbers are not surprising as Barstool is associated with Millennial “Bro” culture. Looking at Portnoy fandom by political ideology you see why he ran into trouble in liberal Boston. Portnoy’s net negative is 29% for Liberals, 25% for Moderates, and just 12% for Conservatives.


If the sample is limited to Millennial Conservatives Portnoy has a fandom rate of 43.9% and a Hater rate of 22.4%. Portnoy crushes it with his core segment.


The conclusion? Haters are a real part of fandom, but with the fragmented nature of culture and fandom, even big voices have relatively minor power. The other thing is that even Pizza reviews are contentious and politicized.

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