The owner of a pizza restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts, that was catapulted into the national limelight after he got into a fiery fight on camera with Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports says his shop will persevere through the onslaught of attacks they’re experiencing.
Dragon Pizza owner Charlie Redd says he’s never experienced something like this, telling Boston.com that he’s received death threats since Portnoy uploaded video of the incident online where it went viral.
“It’s kind of new terrain for me. It’s mental,” Redd said. “But I don’t want to give him credit for complicating my life. We’re running our pizza shop, and everyone is happy. I’m receiving death threats. I’ve received threats at my home. I’m receiving tons of all sorts of different attacks in many different ways.”
The outspoken founder of Barstool Sports, who previously lived in Davis Square, is known for rating pizzerias across the U.S. and then uploading his video reviews to his YouTube channel “One Bite Pizza Reviews.”
In his review of Dragon Pizza, which was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday as “The Worst Pizza Place in America,” Portnoy gave the Somerville shop a low score of 6.4, seemingly offended by what he called the pizza’s floppiness and strong parmesan flavor.
“It’s a floppy mess,” Portnoy says. “Strong parmesan…this is an acquired taste. If you get this, know you’re going to get hit with a left, right in the face with parmesan.”
“It looked better in the case.”
While Portnoy was in the middle of recording his negative review of Dragon Pizza, Redd came outside telling him, “Dave, enjoy your pizza as any customer but I don’t appreciate what you do coming in and judging a business with one bite.”
“I hope you enjoy your pizza but I don’t appreciate what you do to small businesses,” Redd reiterated, something Portnoy took issue with.
Portnoy shot back, claiming, “I’ve actually helped so many small businesses. With this bit, now I can say peacefully, this pizza’s trash.”
Portnoy later added he’s raised $50 million for small businesses.
Many, many expletives were exchanged between the two as the pizza review turned into a profanity-laced shouting match with insults flowing freely, including about the size of Redd’s t-shirt.
At one point, Redd called Portnoy a joke, another jab that “El Presidente” countered, saying that he’s sold his business that he founded in 2003 twice for hundreds of millions and then bought it back for “a buck” — Portnoy was once again named the owner of his media brand after buying it back from Penn Entertainment in August.
The nearly 10-minute review turned expletive rant ends with Portnoy saying, “You know what the best part of that was? I gave it a ridiculously low score before he came out.”
A paper plate that was posted in Dragon Pizza’s storefront said they’re not talking about it: “Orders only.”
And on Yelp, reviews of the business have been temporarily blocked due to increased public attention.
“While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to this incident, we’ve temporarily disabled the posting of content to this page as we work to investigate whether the content you see here reflects actual consumer experiences rather than the recent events,” an alert on the pizzeria’s Yelp page reads. “Please note that we apply this same policy regardless of the business and regardless of the topic at issue. If you’re here to leave a review based on a first-hand experience with the business, please check back at a later date.”
Many have taken to social media to weigh in on the controversy, dragging Redd for getting into an argument with Portnoy.
But for all the hate Redd has been seemingly receiving, Dragon Pizza has also experienced increased support, noting on their Facebook page that they’ve sold out two days over Labor Day weekend.
“Thanks. To this team. To our community. To LOVE over HATE in this unbelievable ugly situation of trolls attacking every aspect of us,” a post Friday read.
That was followed Monday by another “SOLD OUT” paper plate post, saying, “Thank you so much, keep supporting us.”