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A fierce exchange between a media mogul and a popular Somerville pizza shop recently went viral.
Dave Portnoy, who is known for rating pizzerias across the country on his YouTube channel, “One Bite Pizza Reviews,” broke out into a fight with Dragon Pizza owner Charlie Redd. While Portnoy was recording a review of the spot’s pizza, giving it a negative review, Redd confronted him, telling him he did not “appreciate what [he does] to small businesses.” The two were soon exchanging expletives, and the scene was caught on camera. Portnoy posted the video on his channel Thursday, calling Dragon Pizza “the worst pizza place in America.” The video had over 300,000 views as of Friday afternoon.
Redd spoke with Boston.com saying that he has never been in the middle of a feud like this before — and has received threats to his life.
“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.” As of Friday afternoon, Dragon Pizza had blocked commenting to their latest Instagram post, and Redd said they were currently only responding to media inquiries.
Many have taken to social media to weigh in on the controversy. Somervillians like City Councilor Jake Wilson have come out to show their appreciation for Dragon Pizza on Twitter. Meanwhile, Yelp has temporarily blocked reviews from being written about the pizzeria due to increased public attention.
Dragon Pizza appreciation post. Not only is their pizza top notch, but they give terrible human beings their just due. https://t.co/1XflEUODHr
— Jake Wilson (@jake4somerville) August 25, 2023
During his review, Portnoy, who also recently reacquired Barstool Sports, asserted that he did not like the taste and structure of the pizza. “This thing’s super floppy,” he said, while taking a bite of a slice. He added, “It’s a floppy mess. Strong parmesan. Like the parmesan is coming right through. … 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.” He gave the pizza a rating of 6.4 out of 10.
Portnoy’s review was released the day after the New York Post reported that Barstool Sports would cut its staff by nearly 25%, leading to the loss of around 100 jobs. The company was founded in Milton, Massachusetts, in 2003.
Redd said that Dragon Pizza will continue to serve its customers. “We’re in this no matter what,” he said. “… We’re going to go back to making pizza and making people happy.”
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