Maybe it was a publicity stunt that went totally wrong, or maybe BarstoolSports.com really had no problems with their decision last week to publish a naked photo of Tom’s Brady 2-year-old frolicking on a beach in Costa Rica, but yesterday BS founder David Portnoy got a visit from the Massachusetts State Police and now the photo is no longer on the site.
As reported by The Boston Globe today, Portnoy told the paper that state troopers showed up at his Milton home and asked Portnoy to take the the photo down from the site.
“I’ve never had cops knock on my door for anything in my life,’’ Portnoy said in an interview yesterday. “That is not a coincidence that this is one of the first times I’ve taken something down.’’
In addition, the Globe article also reported that Attorney General Martha Coakley said that the police went to talk with Portnoy as a first step to determine if Portnoy’s actions fell under child exploitation laws. Coakley also said that she was “grateful” that the photo came down.
The article continues by questioning the Portnoy’s first amendment rights, and also revealed that the modeling agency of Brady’s wife —Gisel Bundchen— sent Portnoy a cease-and-desist letter:
“I think it’s a real stretch that this is a criminal matter,’’ said Jonathan M. Albano, a Boston lawyer who specializes in media law. “And there’s an inherent element of coercion when civilians are faced with police in uniforms.’’
Portnoy said that he did not feel pressured to remove the posting, but wrote on his site that “when staties show up at your door, it’s hard to say no.’’
The free speech specialists said that law enforcement should not intervene in such a situation unless they have already made a determination that a posting may be criminal.
Portnoy said he removed the post shortly after police visited his home Friday evening. He had previously taken it down briefly after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the modeling agency of Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, but soon reposted it.
Coakley said her office found the picture “troubling, to say the least.’’ She said her office was investigating whether the post amounted to child exploitation, but after speaking with him determined charges were not warranted.
“We went to see Mr. Portnoy and asked if he would be willing to remove it,’’ she said. “He was, and we’re grateful for that. We think that was the right result and, in light of all of that, we believe that the matter is closed.’’
In the meantime, Portnoy faces a lifetime ban from WEEI sports radio in Boston. However, he made appearances on The Howard Stern Show and local public radio yesterday. According to the Globe, Portnoy remains “unapologetic.”
“I obviously still stand by the fact I had every right to do everything I did, but I’m not looking to make cops jobs more difficult than it already is, so I complied,’’ Portnoy wrote. “I went with my gut, and my gut said just make it easy on everybody at this point.’’
“We’ve done a million Brady blogs,’’ Portnoy said. “Every one of them, we try to put a different spin on why he’s the best. For this, the pictures we had, that was the spin. The content – everybody’s focusing on the headline, but if you read the text below it, it is clearly about Tom Brady.’’
He dismissed the idea that he meant the post as a publicity stunt, saying he had “no intention of this going viral.’’
“We are a Boston blog,’’ he said. “We have a long history of posting Brady photos. Whatever Tom Brady does, we talk about.’’
During the opening of the Stern show, the self-proclaimed king of all media agreed with Coakley and others, when he said the following:
Stern: “Dave, people said you must take this down, it’s kiddie porn. And I saw the picture and, quite frankly, I do think it’s kiddie porn. I don’t think you should put a picture of a 2-year-old nude.”
Below is a quick video summary from The Boston Globe about this story: