In early April, Sydney Raines was working as a nanny, looking after the children she had been caring for since she was a teenager, when she received a text from a friend asking if she knew Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy .
“They sent me a video and told me it was sent to them,” Raines, 22, told the Post. “Then I got a text from another friend asking if I was okay. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ “
The video in question was a sex tape she made in July 2020 with Portnoy, while visiting him at her home in Nantucket, Massachusetts. When Raines Google searched her name, the Atlanta resident learned that the video – which showed Portnoy holding a leash attached to a collar around her neck – was being broadcast all over the internet.
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Raines said she didn’t know how the steamy footage came to light, making it clear that she didn’t do it herself. She texted Portnoy asking him what had happened, but he didn’t know much more than she did.
“I didn’t have a moment of low heart or panic until my mom told me we needed to talk. But she ended up supporting me, ”Raines recalls. “Lots of friends started checking in and Dave contacted several times to make sure I was okay. “
After the video made headlines, the stock prices of Penn National Gaming, which has a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, declined temporarily. Portnoy brushed it off, saying, “Someone committing a crime by leaking an old sex video between two consenting adults seems like a stupid reason for a stock to go down.” “
As for Raines, the young woman did something almost unheard of in the Age of Cancellation Culture: she issued an unapologetic response. Instead of collapsing in a tearful confessional and wallowing in victimization, she owned her actions in a statement she was leading by Friends and Portnoy before posting on Instagram.
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“I realized yesterday that a video surfaced on the internet and yes, that was me,” she wrote, adding that it was never intended to go public. “Some may not approve of the content of the video, but it was entirely consensual and it is unfortunate that it is no longer private but [Portnoy and I] are still friends without animosity. . . I won’t call this a mistake since we both took responsibility for it. “
“I’ve always been very open about my sexuality,” she told the Post. “Maybe I don’t care when I should, but I really saw it as just a bump in the road. It wasn’t going to ruin me. I feel like people might see me as a victim in this situation, but I didn’t. I saw myself that way. “
She signed off with a show of bravado: “No apologies, Syd. “
His inbox was flooded with positive and negative messages. Some accused her of being paid by Portnoy. She vehemently denies it.
“I didn’t get anything from that. It was not a question of money, it was a question of conscience. Nothing has changed much, ”she said, adding that she refused to undress and be an ambassador for various clothing companies. Her mom even joked that she should open an OnlyFans account.
“She was like, ‘if you post these half-naked photos [on Instagram], you might as well profit from it. But she doesn’t know that a lot of girls [OnlyFans] doing porn. My photos are rated R, not X. I want to continue on this path. “
Raines may have reached infamy, but she is still a self-proclaimed “country girl”.
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