NBC New York
A party gone bad on Long Island is shining light on a company staging elaborate bashes across the country. Critics say the parties promote drinking to blackout stage. Greg Cergol reports.
A Long Island event billed as a "barstool blackout party" landed nine young people in the hospital over the weekend and has prompted criticism of the party planner.
About 1,600 people attended the party Saturday night at the Paramount in Huntington, according to Suffolk County police. Nearly all of those taken out by ambulance crews suffered from alcohol poisoning, said Lt. Joseph Condolff.
The party was sponsored by BarstoolU.com, a firm that promotes and stages DJ parties on college campuses and at other venues across the country. The banner on BarstoolU's website trumpets the events as being "by the C-student, for the C-student."
"They bill it as a barstool blackout party and that's evident from the T-shirts kids were wearing: 'black out or get out,'" said Condolff. "I think they were there to drink a lot and party heavily."
BarstoolU's parties have gained notoriety for allegedly encouraging partygoers to drink until they "black out."
In Boston, protesters waved signs outside a recent barstool blackout tour event. Boston University students even created a public service announcement attacking the organization.
BarstoolU did not respond to emails from NBC New York.
"I don't think they should be promoting this." said Lauren Shea, a social worker with the Daytop Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center in Huntington Station.
"Most people think it's a fun time, but when you black out from drinking, that's a problem," said Shea.
Paramount said it is investigating.
"The event disappointed us," said Adam Ellis, a Paramount spokesman. "We are reviewing what happened."
Last month, a BarstoolU event was held on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead.
"It was one of the best times I had at college," said Connor McBride, one of the students who helped bring the event to Hofstra.
BarstoolU doesn't promote binge drinking, McBride added. There were no reported incidents at the February event.
"Their main goal is for everyone to have a good time," McBride said.
"We do not condone inappropriate or unhealthy behavior and we provide education on issues related to binge drinking and substance abuse regularly to our student body," Hofstra University said in a statement.
According to the BarstoolU website, an event scheduled for New York's famed Roseland club March 30 has already been sold out.