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The Barstool Sports and “Call Her Daddy” Podcast Drama Explained

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Photo: Barstool Sports/ Call Her Daddy

  • Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, hosts of the hit podcast “Call Her Daddy,” are in a feud over contract negotiations with Barstool Sports, which runs their show and owns its IP.
  • Barstool picked up the show early in its run for a three-year contract, which the hosts are in year two of. However, they explored shopping the show to other networks, allegedly with the help of Franklyn’s boyfriend, an executive at HBO Sports. 
  • Barstool president Dave Portnoy claimed that he ended up giving the two a big offer that Cooper was interested in, but Franklyn refused. He then said he would work with Cooper on a deal that would give her a bigger cut, which are terms Franklyn said she won’t agree to. 
  • Cooper and Franklyn have not done an episode of their weekly podcast since April 8 and Portnoy claims that Barstool is losing $100,000 for every episode missed.

“Call Her Daddy” Goes Dark

The hosts of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast are no strangers to talking about screwing and getting screwed, but not like this. Let’s breakdown all the drama that’s been going on between them and Barstool Sports, the media company that airs the show.

Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, who host the popular sex and dating podcast, have not released an episode of their weekly show since April 8.

For those who are unaware, their relationship with Barstool dates back to 2018 when the online media network picked the show up and helped it fly up the podcast charts. As part of the deal to pick up the show, Barstool owned its IP, but new contract negotiations over this have caused the podcast to go dark.

Fans first started to detect this may be the case when “Call Her Daddy’s” Instagram began posting cryptic messages saying that “the trail will be revealed.” In one post on April 21, they said they legally cannot speak about their situation right now, spreading the hashtag #FreeTheFathers. The Fathers is a nickname given to the hosts by the fans, meanwhile, the show’s fans are often referred to as the “Daddy Gang.”

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#FREETHEFATHERS @alexandracooper @sofiafranklyn

A post shared by CALL HER DADDY (@callherdaddy) on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:56pm PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Portnoy Speaks Out

The idea that Cooper and Franklyn were in a legal bind came as a shock to many fans, but some questions were answered on Sunday when Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy took over the podcast for a 30-minute episode called “Daddy Speaks.”

“In my 17 years of doing this, I have never dealt with anyone as unprofessional and disloyal and greedy as those two,” Portnoy said of the hosts. 

Portnoy said that Cooper and Franklyn were shopping the podcast around to other outlets, a direct violation of their three-year commitment with Barstool. He said that after their first year together, he sat down with the two hosts and had what he thought was a productive conversation about negotiated salaries for their second year. He said he was later sent an email from their lawyer expressing frustrations. 

Portnoy says he hopped on a conference call with the lawyer who said the girls wanted a $1 million guarantee for each of them. They also wanted to be considered freelancers instead of Barstool Sports employees, asked for 50% of profits from sales like merchandise and advertising, as well as the IP for “Call Her Daddy” back.

When they started, each host had a base of roughly $70,000. When all was said and done, Franklyn made $461,000 and Cooper made $506,000 by the first year’s end. Cooper’s paycheck was bigger because she asked for a raise a few months in, which Portnoy agreed to because she was the one mainly communicating with Barstool, and was editing the show. 

To Portnoy, handing over the IP to “Call Her Daddy” was pretty much out of the question at the time. Barstool still owns the show, and the idea that they were shopping it around was not good news to him. 

“If you guys take Call Her Daddy and go somewhere else, we are going to sue the fuck out of you,” Portnoy said. “You are under a three year contract, what makes you think you can just get up and leave?”

Portnoy’s Big Offer

Portnoy said he threw another offer their way, but it was shut down. Just a few weeks ago, the three had a meeting at his house arranged by Cooper. At first, the two hosts denied that they were shopping the show, but later confessed that they were thinking of leaving and getting out of their contract. 

Portnoy then offered to pay them a guaranteed $500,000 each, along with an increase in merch revenue, and bonuses. He also offered to cut the remaining time in their contract from 18 months to 12 months and was willing to give them the IP back. He thought Cooper and Franklyn would jump on the offer, but both walked away without saying yes. Cooper later called him back and said she wanted to take the offer, but Franklyn was refusing.

Portnoy claims that Franklyn is holding her grudge so that the goalpost can keep going forward and the two can keep getting more. He believes that Franklyn’s boyfriend, Peter Nelson, the Executive Vice President at HBO Sports, has been influential in this decision. He claims Nelson was taking the lead in getting them lawyers, shopping the show around, and trying to land them a new deal. 

According to Portnoy, Nelson did land them a new deal at a network called Wondery. There, the show would be called “The Fathers.” Nelson, who Portnoy referred to as “Suitman,” was allegedly trying to run through their contract with Barstool so the two could find a way out of it and switch over. 

Portnoy said he called Franklyn to say that Cooper was ready to reach a deal. If she did not get moving with an answer herself, he said he would offer her co-host a show of her own. However, the deal would involve Cooper getting more than Franklyn as opposed to the equal offer initially stated. Now, Portnoy thinks Franklyn is preparing to hit Barstool with a lawsuit. He claims Barstool is losing $100,000 for every episode of “Call Her Daddy” that does not get put out.

Franklyn Responds

On Tuesday, Franklyn broke her silence in an Instagram story addressing the situation. She admitted that she and Cooper explored other options for “Call Her Daddy,” but said it was for the benefit of the “Daddy Gang.”

She also said she could have handled this decision better and regrets the way some of it went down. Franklyn claimed to be willing to negotiate with Barstool but said her trust in Cooper was broken. 

“I found out that Alex had gone behind my back and done something and I found out that it wasn’t the first time,” she said. She also said that as much as she wants to continue “Call Her Daddy,” she cannot do it under the conditions Cooper is agreeing to. 

“I can’t do it while she’s demanding that she controls the show,” Franklyn said. “I don’t want to be like her employee. We are partners. We’ve always been that way, we’ve always been 50/50. And so it’s putting me in an extremely tough position.” 

After this, Portnoy took over the “Call Her Daddy” Instagram account to make an “emergency press conference” addressing the situation. In a four-minute video, he continued to lambaste Franklyn and Nelson. 

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“It felt like, to me, she was just getting read for a lawsuit, gearing up for a lawsuit,” Portnoy said. “And to be honest, that’s the vibe I’ve had from her and her lawyers and William Morris and probably suitman for the last two weeks.”

He claims Franklyn has essentially screwed herself out of the podcast. The show’s Instagram now boasts merchandise for products that say “Cancel Suitman.” Cooper has not taken to social media to address the situation.

Conflicts in Modern Media

While some elements of this drama might be unique to “Call Her Daddy” and Barstool Sports, the notion that some media personalities have felt they’ve have outgrown the outlets that shot them to stardom is fairly universal. In a piece for the New York Times, culture reporter Taylor Lorenz said this situation is just an example of a huge conflict in the growing and changing landscape of media right now.

“Media companies have long acted as talent incubators, providing content producers name-brand recognition and access to a larger audience,” Lorenz wrote. “But, as that talent builds a following on social media, the balance of power shifts. Often, talent no longer needs the media company to operate as a middleman, and many realize they could monetize their own platforms more effectively by themselves.”

When Franklyn and Cooper first started their podcast, they were anonymous faces walking down New York City sidewalks. Now, they have a following of around one million people. Taking that following and monetizing it on their own would not be unheard of, or even that hard. Audiences are far more loyal to the personalities they like than the companies that serve as an outlet for their work.

Plenty of creators have left their respective media companies to become independent. As Jordi Hays, a digital strategist who works with online creators told Lorenz, these personalities have plenty of doors open to them, making staying within the confines of a media company relatively unappealing. 

“We’re entering a period where creators are business owners and media brands of their own,” Hays explained. “They can’t just be seen as employees. The tools are available to them to become founders and C.E.O.s of their brand, and develop businesses with multiple powerful revenue streams like merch, ad sales and subscription revenue.”

See what others are saying: (New York Times) (BuzzFeed) (New York Post)

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Twitch Sues Two Users for Creating Hate Raid Bots That Targeted Black and LGBTQ+ Streamers

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Twitch said the two users were so relentless in their racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ+ hate raids that they forced some creators to stop streaming.


Twitch Sues Two Users

Twitch has filed a lawsuit against two of its users for allegedly creating hate raid bots that targeted Black and LGBTQ+ streamers with racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ+ content. 

The users named in the lawsuit, filed late Thursday, are CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose. While their legal names are currently unknown, Twitch said it traced one to the Netherlands and the other to Austria. It added that it will amend the suit to include their real names once it learns them. 

Twitch said both users began using bots to flood streamers’ chats with hate-filled messages in August. Despite multiple suspensions and bans, Twitch said the two continually created new accounts to continue their hate raid crusades. 

According to the lawsuit, CruzzControl operated nearly 3,000 bots that were used to spam the discriminatory and harassing content. Meanwhile, CreatineOverdose used “their bot software to demonstrate how it could be used to spam Twitch channels with racial slurs, graphic descriptions of violence against minorities, and claims that the hate raiders are the KKK.”

Twitch didn’t just stop at accusations of hateful actions and rule-breaking. It even claimed the two users were so forceful in their efforts to attack creators that they pressured some to stop streaming altogether, “eliminating an important source of revenue for them.”

Twitch Users Demand Change

Twitch creators have long complained about hate raids, but a number of small creators began organizing a cohesive movement in early August following what appeared to be a growing number of hate raids. 

Many demanded that Twitch address the situation by holding round tables with affected creators and enabling different features that would give them the ability to shut down incoming raids. Critics also called on the platform to provide detailed information about how it plans to protect creators moving forward. While Twitch did promise to implement fixes, a large portion of users weren’t satisfied with its messaging. 

The bulk of users’ efforts culminated on Sep. 1 when various creators participated in #ADayOffTwitch, a one-day walkout designed to reduce traffic on the platform. 

Despite Twitch’s lawsuit, a number of users have still said they won’t be completely satisfied with the platform’s actions until more is accomplished. For now, their primary goal is to have Twitch directly outline what steps it’s taking to prevent hate raids.

In its lawsuit, Twitch does make a cursory mention of several changes it said it’s introduced recently, including “implementing stricter identity controls with accounts, machine learning algorithms to detect bot accounts that are used to engage in harmful chat, and augmenting the banned word list.”

“Twitch mobilized its communications staff to address the community harm flowing from the hate raids and assured its community that it was taking proactive measures to stop them,” it added. “Twitch also worked with impacted streamers to educate them on moderation toolkits for their chats and solicited and responded to streamers’ and users’ comments and concerns.”

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Streamers Protest Racist and Homophobic Hate Raids With #ADayOffTwitch

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The creators participating in the walkout want Twitch to implement policies that actively combat hate-raiding.


#ADayOffTwitch

Numerous Twitch streamers went dark on the platform Wednesday as part of a movement called #ADayOffTwitch, which participants have described as a way to stand “in solidarity with marginalized creators under attack by botting & hate-raids.” 

The protest was organized last month after a smaller creator by the name of RekItRaven, who is Black and uses they/them pronouns, had their streams flooded with racist messages twice.  

“This channel now belongs to the KKK,” dozens of users commented during the streams. 

Source: @RekItRaven

For RekItRaven, those messages also came at a particularly disparaging time, as they had just finished talking about how several traumatic experiences had shaped their life. 

Following the stream, RekItRaven began using #TwitchDoBetter, saying, “I love Twitch. I love the community that I built there… BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE TO ACCEPT BEING TREATED LIKE SHIT ON THE PLATFORM.”

Soon, RekItRaven’s concerns gained traction, prompting a number of other smaller creators to step forward with their experiences about being on the receiving end of hate-raids. Eventually, that morphed into Tuesday’s #ADayOffTwitch protest, which has been spearheaded by RekItRaven and two other small creators known as ShineyPen and Lucia Everblack.

Protesters’ Demands

The protesters are demanding that Twitch make several concessions moving forward. Those demands include the platform:

  • Holding round-tables with affected creators to assist with the creation of tools that combat abuse on the platform.
  • Enabling creators to select the account age for prospective chatters.
  • Allowing creators the ability to deny incoming raids.
  • Removing the ability to attach more than three Twitch accounts to one email address since hate-raiders can currently use a single email to register unlimited accounts. 
  • Providing transparency into the actions being taken to protect creators, including giving a timeframe for that implementation.

For its part, Twitch has already promised to implement fixes, saying on Aug. 20, “Hate spam attacks are the result of highly motivated bad actors, and do not have a simple fix.”

“We’ve been building channel-level ban evasion detection and account improvements to combat this malicious behavior for months,” it added. “However, as we work on solutions, bad actors work in parallel to find ways around them—which is why we can’t always share details.” 

However, for now, creators must still deal with potentially being hate-raided while streaming, which is why their anger toward Twitch has persisted.

Do Small Creators Have a Big Enough Voice?

The protest led by mostly smaller creators is also almost entirely composed of them. Because of this, the vacuum of silence from large creators, who hold a disproportionate amount of influence on the platform, has also led to frustration.

Many have pointed out that large creators will publicly show their support for minority causes during events such as Black History Month and Pride Month, but smaller users said they feel abandoned when those same creators don’t also actively participate in causes that directly combat minority hate. 

“Nobody gives a fuck if you take the day off. Nobody knows who you are That’s the truth,” streamer Asmongold, who has 2.4 million followers on Twitch, on a stream last month. “If people got together and they said, we’re all going to collectively do it, I would do it in a heartbeat. Right, I would do it. I’ve got no problem because I do believe in power in numbers, I absolutely do, which is why I don’t believe in this. Like, you can’t get a bunch of 20 Andy’s together and think that you’re going to do anything. Nobody gives a fuck.”

That said, some influential streamers have added their voices to #ADayOff Twitch. For example, both Rhymestyle and Meg Turney participated in Tuesday’s protest; however, both creators have hundreds of thousands of more followers outside of Twitch rather than on it. 

A number of smaller creators have also argued that it’s not feasible for them to take a day off even though they want to support the cause. For example, taking a day off could jeopardize them keeping their affiliate or partner status, which could, in turn, jeopardize their channels.

Meanwhile, others have argued that outcomes such as those are exactly what hate-raiders want to achieve, so logging off Twitch for a day could be playing into their hands. 

Others still said they wanted to participate but are contractually obligated to stream every day either because of sponsorships or other deals.

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CallMeCarson Announces Return to Streaming Following Grooming Allegations

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In his return announcement, the YouTuber promised to donate 100% of his proceeds to charity in hopes that he can turn a negative situation with a lot of eyes on it into something positive.” 


CallMeCarson Returns

Popular “Minecraft” YouTuber and streamer Carson King, known online as CallMeCarson, announced Wednesday that he will return to streaming following accusations he faced earlier this year of grooming and sexting underage fans.

In a video titled “Moving Forward,” King said he would begin streaming on Twitch again on Sept. 1 as part of what he is calling a “Year of Charity.” For the next 12 months, King plans to donate 100% of his proceeds to different charities, selecting a new one each month. 

“Before you start looking at this as an excuse to sweep things under the rug, that’s not what this is,” he explained in his video. “I’m doing this to turn a negative situation with a lot of eyes on it into something positive that can help a lot of people.” 

King did not address the details of the allegations that have been levied against him. Instead, he said he wanted to focus on what he can do in the future. 

“I’ve learned a lot this past year,” King said. “I’m not seeking forgiveness nor am I looking to make excuses.”

Grooming Allegations Made Against CallMeCarson

In January, members of his YouTube group The Lunch Club told “DramaAlert” that in March of 2020, King had admitted to grooming underage fans. They claimed to not know many details but stated that his confession ultimately led to the group disbanding. One former member, known as “Slimecicle,” even said he reported Carson to authorities.

The victims themselves ended up coming forward online. One, who identified herself as Sam, said Carson sent her sexually suggestive messages in 2019 when he was 19 and she was 17. She also posted Discord messages the two exchanged where King said he could not “control” himself and asked when she turned 18. 

Another girl, who went by CopiiCatt, said King sent her nude photos when she was 17 and he was 20. 

Following this, King took a hiatus online, and now, his return has been met with mixed reactions.

His “Moving Forward” video has been viewed over 1.2 million times, receiving 252,000 likes and just 14,000 dislikes. 

On Twitter, however, more people expressed frustration with his return and were upset by the swell of support for King despite the accusations against him. 

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