In early April, Sydney Raines was at her nanny job, taking care of the youngsters she has minded since she was a young person, when she acquired a textual content from a buddy asking if she knew Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.
“They sent me a video and said it was sent to them,” Raines, 22, informed The Post. “Then I got a text from another friend asking if I was OK. I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ ”
The video in query was a sex tape she had made in July 2020 with Portnoy, whereas visiting him at his Nantucket, Mass., house. When Raines Googled her personal identify, the Atlanta resident discovered that the video — which confirmed Portnoy holding a leash connected to a collar round her neck — was plastered all around the Internet.
Raines mentioned she doesn’t know the way the raunchy footage was leaked, making clear she didn’t do it herself. She texted Portnoy to ask what had occurred, however he didn’t know rather more than she did.
“I didn’t have a moment of my heart dropping or panic until my mother said we needed to talk. But she ended up being supportive,” Raines recalled. “A lot of friends started checking in and Dave reached out multiple times to make sure I was OK.”
After the video made headlines, inventory costs for Penn National Gaming, which owns a 36 p.c stake in Barstool Sports, took a short lived dip. Portnoy brushed it off, saying: “Somebody committing a crime by leaking an old video of sex between two consenting adults seems like a dumb reason for a stock to go down.”
As for Raines, the younger lady did one thing nearly unprecedented the age of cancel tradition: She issued an unapologetic response. Instead of collapsing right into a teary confessional and wallowing in victimhood, she owned her actions in an announcement that she ran by buddies and Portnoy earlier than posting to Instagram.
“I became aware yesterday that a video has surfaced on the internet and yes, that was me,” she wrote, including it was by no means meant to change into public. “Some might not approve of the video content but it was entirely consensual and it’s unfortunate it is no longer private but [Portnoy and I] are still friends with no animosity . . . I won’t label this a mistake since we have both taken responsibility for it.”
“I’ve always been really open about my sexuality,” she informed 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 that situation, but I haven’t seen myself that way.”
She signed off with a present of bravado: “With no apologies, Syd.”
Her inbox was flooded with each constructive and adverse messages. Some accused her of getting paid by Portnoy. She vehemently denies it.
“I haven’t gotten anything from this. It wasn’t about money, it was about my conscience. Nothing much has changed,” she mentioned, including that she has declined affords to strip and be an envoy for numerous clothes firms. Her mother even joked that she ought to begin an OnlyFans account.
“She was like, ‘if you are posting these half-naked pictures [on Instagram], you might as well make money from it.’ But she doesn’t know that a lot of girls on [OnlyFans] do porn. My pictures are R-rated, not X-rated. I want to keep it that way.”
Raines could have achieved infamy, however she continues to be a self-proclaimed “country girl.”
Raised in Brooks, Ga. — pop. 527 — she grew up searching, fishing and even composting so she’d at all times have recent bait. “I’m very much a country girl. I like football, and my family is big into camping,” she mentioned. “When I was younger I tried to grow out of it because I thought I was too country. But it’s who I am. I love it.”
Raines admits she was a wild teen and later went to a non-public Christian highschool to get her act collectively. She enrolled in faculty hoping to be a doctor’s assistant however dropped out after shedding curiosity within the occupation. In 2019 she entered a Tropic Beauty bikini contest and gained recognition on Instagram, the place she now has greater than 16,000 followers.
Her attractive snaps caught the attention of Portnoy, who slid into her DMs in early 2020. The pair chatted on-line for just a few months earlier than their New England rendezvous.
“Dave is a sweet guy. I consider him my friend,” she mentioned.
Now Raines, who’s single, works as a part-time nanny, a bottle lady at an Atlanta lounge, and likewise at a hospital. She is contemplating going again to high school for enterprise to take over her household’s paving firm. And she’s not fearful what anybody else thinks.
“If there’s anything I learned from the video, it is that everyone will always have their opinions whether good or bad. The most important thing is to not apologize for something you’re not sorry for. I have no regrets how I handled the situation,” she mentioned.
“At the end of the day, I’m the only person I have to prove myself to.”
Photos: Leah Perry Photography; Hair/Makeup: Becca Bussert