DGN Stool Instagram account reported, shut down


Barstool Sports Official Website

BARSTOOL CULTURE: the original Barstool Sports inspres many smaller, local accounts of the same name.

Tabitha Irvin, Opinion Editor

DGN’s unofficial barstool Instagram account came under fire Tuesday, Jan. 17 after the creation of a game-day post. What was intended as an informational boys’ basketball update quickly morphed into a schoolwide conversation and controversy. After multiple students reported the DGN Stool account, it was removed entirely from Instagram. 

DGN Stool Instagram account originated in 2019 and has since amassed over 2,000 followers. The page was designed to mimic Barstool (13.6 million followers), an online platform that sells merchandise, reports on various national sports, and conducts interviews relating to athletic culture and comedy in general. Countless stool accounts have since emerged, both locally and for larger teams. 

Similarly, DGN Stool aims to both promote sports events and cultivate humor. Achieved through their weekly Almost Friday and game-day updates, DGN Stool solidified itself as the school’s most followed unaffiliated Instagram account. 

The post that eventually led to the account’s removal referenced a grainy picture of two young male basketball players, one a current DGN player and the other sporting a Wheaton North jersey. The caption below stated, “[Wheaton North Stool] let’s keep this fruitcake activity to a minimal at tonight’s game. Game at home tonight @ 7:30. Be there. #unwantedtouch #goboys #dgn #bball.”

CAPTION CONTROVERSY: DGN Stool Instagram account posts a basketball game update (Screenshot by Katherine Mielke)

Senior Kayla Kellam, in the past week, has been a vocal leader against the allegedly homophobic post. She specifies that while the caption never made her feel unsafe, it did make her uncomfortable at school. 

“The word fruitcake itself isn’t derogatory, but the context behind it is. As a gay person, it’s not very comforting to see something so blatantly homophobic, ” Kellam said. 

A source who prefers to remain anonymous used to help run the DGN Stool account earlier in the year and voiced their behind-the-scenes perspective. He did not write or publish the post in question, mentioning that as many as seven people had access to the account. The ex-account owner logged into the account shortly after “fruitcake” was posted to change the caption. 

“On behalf of DGN Stool, I certainly retract the post because I changed the caption two hours after it was posted because I didn’t think all of the school would find it funny. So, I purposefully changed the post because I realized it might offend some people,” the source said. 

The caption change did make Kellam and others feel more comfortable about the post. However, because people had already reported the previous caption, the number and subject of each complaint were enough to shut down the entire account a day later, Wednesday, Jan 18. 

Kellam, along with others who reported the account under hate speech did so by using Instagram’s built-in reporting option. Instagram states that “We have a global team that reviews these reports and works as quickly as possible to remove content that doesn’t meet our guidelines. We may remove entire posts if either the imagery or associated captions violate our guidelines.” (Click HERE to find all the Community Guidelines)

“Genuinely, I was shocked when the Stool account got deleted. I know that some [at least five] friends and I reported the ‘fruitcake’ post, but the intention was never to hate the entire account. I think Barstool is a fun Instagram trend. I did not expect the entire account to be deleted,” Kellam said. 

According to Kellam, those who reported the account did so to express their dislike of the “fruitcake” post. Kellam, personally, was glad when account owners changed the caption without being explicitly prompted.

“I definitely thought the new caption was funny, but the original caption came at the expense of a marginalized group that DGN Stool doesn’t represent. When stool uses rival players to make memes or insult other teams, it’s funny. It’s attacking them for their sport, not their identity. Making fun of someone for their sexuality is a whole different story,” Kellam said. 

The ex-stool account owner “wasn’t really in shock when the account got banned,” but “didn’t agree with the reasoning.” 

“It’s all about sensitivity levels and how people take things. You also have to remember that we’re a comedy account and to produce comedy, you risk being offensive and when you risk being offensive, you can pay the price for it. As we can see, the account paid the price,” the source said.

After speaking with the new account owners, the anonymous source shared the process around curating content. This clarification is partially in response to other recent claims of alleged gender favoritism, which he responded to as well. 

“The mission of creating funny content still stands because it’s the fairest way possible. The [new] DGN Stool owners don’t go out of their way to favor one sport over another based on gender. It’s all based on the submissions received and what the account owners create,” the ex-account owner said. 

The new DGN Stool account, managed by many of the same people, has already posted nine times since its Jan. 18 debut. When asked if anything about the new account has or will change in light of previous controversy, they responded, “No. We still try to be as funny as possible to please our viewers. That’s our goal.”