Barstool Sports has hired Las Vegas-based handicapper Kelly Stewart. AKA Kelly in Vegas, a month after she parted ways with ESPN.
Barstool Sports hires Kelly Stewart
Barstool Sports, the digital media company focused on sports and pop culture, has hired Las Vegas-based Kelly Stewart, a sports analyst and famous female sports handicapper. She is well-known as @kellyinvegas on social media, and her new role comes a month after ESPN let her go.
Recently, Stewart wrote her first blog post for Barstool, sharing that she would start doing what she loves most in the world, which is watching football and picking winners to share with her audience. She stated, “I’m going to have some hot takes and some terrible tweets get used to it.”
Stewart has more than 125,000 followers on Twitter and is now expected to contribute to Barstool Sports with videos, media posts, blog posts and a podcast. Barstool operates in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois.
ESPN fired Stewart over past Twitter comments
In May, ESPN announced hiring Stewart to be an analyst on Daily Wager, a one-hour show for sports betting news and information. Stewart was to appear on Sports Center and other ESPN programs; however, a month later, she was let go by the company before being called out over anti-gay slurs she posted on Twitter in 2012.
On June 4, Stewart published a statement on social media, apologizing for her language, and stated that her slurs were a reaction to online attacks.
In her introduction to barstoolbets.com, she wrote, “I am the most hated woman in sports gambling. I’ve made a career out of being the villain. Somehow Barstool Sports still wanted to give me a job. So here I am. And if we’re being honest, I’m not sure why I wasn’t here years ago.”
ESPN faced criticism over decision
When ESPN fired Stewart, it became national news, sparking conversation on social media on “how long should a person be punished for old tweets” or “how difficult it is to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.”
Others question whether or not ESPN made the right decision of letting her go and expressed criticism towards the company for not supporting her. Clay Travis, Outkick’s founder, sent Stewart a reply on Twitter, suggesting she should be working for his company.
However, in 2017, ESPN also issued a statement of its social media policy for its employees, which stated that the company’s engagement on social media platforms should be civil and responsible, without any political or other biases that could threaten the company’s credibility with the public.