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INSIDE EDITION Investigates Blackout Parties

INSIDE EDITION Investigates Blackout Parties

Airdate: 05/04/2012

They're called blackout parties and they're the hottest late night events going.  But these traveling blackout parties have been wreaking havoc across the nation, mainly in college towns.

When Inside Edition took cameras to a blackout party at a concert hall in Montclair, New Jersey, we found thousands of kids squeezed in line trying to get in.  Some people were so wasted they couldn't stand up.  

Police tried to keep the crowd in control, but then, things turned ugly when the crowd got out of hand.  Some concert-goers scuffled with police.  The party was canceled and twenty four people were hospitalized.  Six people were arrested.

The parties are advertised on a popular website, barstoolu.com, known for its off-color blogs, and photos of sexy coeds.

Many college girls flock to the blackout parties dressed in skimpy shorts and neon bras that stand out in the dark under the blacklights and strobes.  

These blackout parties are so popular that at a recent event all 2500 tickets sold out in less than a minute.

The man behind the blackout party craze is 35-year old David Portnoy. His headquarters,  in a dingy office outside Boston looks more like a messy college dorm room.

Portnoy insists his parties are safe.

INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero asked Portnoy, "So blackout party does not refer to getting so drunk you black out?"

 "No, it doesn't. It's obviously a catch phrase for us. But we don't mean it in the literal sense of blacking out until you pass out," Portnoy responded,

But some kids are apparently getting a different message. In Boston, we found police officers giving breathalyzer tests to people before they even entered.

And on line, we met up with some bubbly teens waiting to enter the party.
But a short time later, we found one of the girls, with her cousin, sitting outside.

So we approached her and asked her why she wasn't inside.

She told us, "We got rejected from the club because we had two drinks."

"A lot of people are saying the blackout parties are really encouraging young people to drink too much," Guerrero asked.  

 "Uhmmm, no, not necessarily.  It's just frustrating," said the 19 year old girl who appeared to be slurring her words and falling over.

During the conversation, her cousin could no longer keep her head up and laid it down on the ground.  Guerrero asked the girls if they were going to be alright and if they needed a ride home, but the girls declined.
 
At New York's Roseland Ballroom, the sign said it all -  "Barstool Blackout Tour Sold Out"  Here, police were prepared for the worst and the venue banned the sale of alcohol.  But that didn't stop people from getting wasted.   Inside Eidition witnessed people smoking pot and one snorting what appeared to be cocaine.
 
Some critics say that blackout parties promote an atmosphere that put women at risk.  

Guerrero asked Portnoy, "You posted the following on your site, "I never condone rape, but if you're a size 6 and you're wearing skinny jeans, you kind of deserve to be raped?"   

 "Correct.  I stand by that.  I think it's a funny joke," Portnoy said.

"Do you think rape is funny?"

"No, I didn't say that.  I think it's a funny joke."  

"Do you know how offensive that is?," Lisa asked.

"No.  I obviously don't", Portnoy admitted.

As blackout parties grow in popularity, communities will most certainly brace themselves for more scenes like this.

 

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