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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

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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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Trisha Paytas Departs From “Frenemies” Podcast With Ethan Klein

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The announcement came after Paytas and co-host Ethan Klein engaged in a heated argument on the most recent episode of their show.


Paytas and Klein Argue

YouTuber Trisha Paytas announced Tuesday that they are stepping down from the “Frenemies” podcast with Ethan Klein. 

Paytas, who uses they/them pronouns, posted a 22-minute long video explaining their decision. The departure comes after Paytas and Klein got in a heated argument on the most recent episode of “Frenemies,” which paying members had access to on Monday and the general public received access to on Tuesday. 

The dispute started when Paytas appeared unenthusiastic about a new advice segment that was added to the show. Klein then made a comment about how Paytas contributes nothing to “Frenemies” and just shows up to film, which ignited a fight about creative differences the two have when it comes to the production of the podcast.

Paytas seemed overall frustrated that they do not have more input on the show and that their ideas are allegedly often dismissed.

“I never pick the costumes, I never do the Vlogs, I give so many ideas,” they said. “I say dancing for the vlogs, I give all these ideas and you don’t…I don’t think it’s a good segment.” 

Paytas also mentioned that they get no say on new hires even though Klein uses 5% of the podcast’s revenue, as well as money earned from highlight episodes of the podcast, to pay the crew and cover production costs. Klein, however, argued that he does not need to run new hires by Paytas because those people are hired as employees for his production company, H3 Productions, which produces and airs “Frenemies.”

These are employees of our production company,” he said.

“It’s literally about we are producing the show and I am taking a cut, I feel like that is beyond reasonable,” he later added. 

Klein claimed that he already gives Paytas 50% of everything else, which he argues is an incredibly good deal considering H3 Productions does all the backend work. Paytas still felt differently and said that “Frenemies” should have its own employees. 

After the argument escalated, Paytas walked off the set holding back tears and the episode ended. Many found Paytas’ comments, specifically the ones referencing the crew and their pay, to be rude and disrespectful. 

Paytas Leaves “Frenemies”

On Tuesday morning, Paytas posted a video announcing and explaining their departure. They claimed that the crew was frustrated and did not want to film with Paytas the next day, partially because the segment Paytas had slammed came from a new hire. 

Paytas stressed that wanting more money was not their issue. Instead, they said they truly just wanted the show to be more of a 50/50 partnership creatively. Paytas said that while they understand Klein produces the show, they would have loved to pitch in on producing as well, but often just felt like an outsider. 

“I do feel like I contributed half to Frenemies, building the H3 channel,” Paytas explained. “Like I would have loved to have Frenemies on my channel and build up my channel. I could have produced it, I could have built sets, I’m capable of this stuff.” 

Paytas also clarified that they have no issue with the crew. While Paytas said they were not sorry for bringing these issues up, they were sorry for how the message was delivered. 

They added that in the end, they really felt like they brought an underappreciated value to the show. Paytas also said that in the beginning of this partnership, they were under the impression that they would be building something entirely new with Klein. 

“If I knew I was coming in as a third H3 show, like I swear hand to god I would not have done it,” they said.

Paytas added a lengthy comment below the video after it was posted, saying they were leaving “to ease the tension everywhere.”

“I don’t want to be the toxicity in their machine,” Paytas continued. “And I can feel that I am. And it’s not good for anyone involved.”

Klein and Paytas Lash Out on Twitter

Klein responded to the video on Tuesday. In two posts he joked about it being National Best Friend’s Day and asked what he should do with the 4,000 “Frenemies” hoodies he has. In a more serious tweet, he said he was “gutted” about the situation. 

Trisha’s video this morning was a total surprise to me,” he added. “I don’t really know what more I can say or do. I’m very sorry to all the fans of frenemies, I know how much it meant to everyone, I did everything I humanly could to save it.”

Things escalated later in the day when Paytas posted a second video further explaining their decision to leave the podcast. They said the last thing they ever wanted to do was disrespect the crew, and again emphasized that money was never their issue.

Paytas also acknowledged that they should have never brought up money on the podcast or in front of the crew in the first place. Things, however, continued to spiral on Twitter as Paytas and Klein engaged in a stormy back-and-forth. 

Among other things, Klein said he was angry that Paytas’ fans were sending hate to the crew members online. He said he reached out to Paytas because he was upset with the way they handled things but said he will ultimately always cherish his experience making “Frenemies.”

Paytas responded to him and insisted they were never rude to the crew themself. Paytas also shared text messages, accusing Klein of being misleading and flip-flopping on how the money for production costs was spent. Paytas is receiving a considerable amount of backlash for one of the texts they shared, as one screenshot shows them making an antisemitic remark to Klein. 

Crew members also engaged in online discourse about the news, including Dan from H3 Productions, who accused Paytas of lying in their videos. According to Dan, the crew was actually fully prepared to film with Paytas the next day and Klein was the one to cancel the shoot. 

Dan also said that the new hire was not the person who came up with the segment Paytas took issue with and instead was just the person who presented and prepared it.

Klein and Paytas later deleted most of their tweets attacking each other. Both said they should not have aired those feelings and messages on Twitter.

Paytas Apologizes To Fans and Klein

On Wednesday morning, Paytas apologized to Klein and others who worked on “Frenemies,” saying they were “embarrassed” by the situation. In a separate tweet, Paytas apologized to fans for ending things so turbulently.

“I feel horrible,” they wrote. “This is the worst feeling to see people think I’m this heartless monster who doesn’t do anything wrong. I have been in the wrong so many times on frenemies, they’ve been really wonderful to me.”

Paytas then uploaded a third video titled “I’m Sorry.” In it, they said the whole situation had been blown out of proportion and that the first two videos were meant to clarify issues but only made things worse. They again apologized for leaving the podcast and for disappointing fans. 

“I don’t know how to make the situation right…I don’t know what to do,” Paytas said.

See what others are saying: (Mashable) (Insider) (Paper)

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Showtime Will Process Refunds After Crashing During Paul Vs. Mayweather Fight

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Many said they were unable to watch the highly anticipated pay-per-view event because of technical difficulties.


Showtime To Issue Refunds

Showtime is processing refunds for customers who could not watch Sunday’s highly anticipated fight between YouTuber Logan Paul and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather because of technical difficulties on the streaming platform. 

The night of the event, Twitter was full of users complaining that Showtime had crashed during the fight. The company released a statement saying it was “aware that some customers have been having trouble accessing tonight’s Pay Per View event” and was “working diligently to resolve the issue and will redress customers appropriately.”

Showtime Support’s Twitter account later told people to return to the event in ten minutes, though that still did not resolve the issue for many viewers.

In a tweet on Monday, the service said anyone who purchased the fight via Showtime’s website or app but was unable to watch it could request a refund. 

What Happened During the Fight?

The fight ultimately lasted eight rounds, ending without a knockout or winner. After the match, Mayweather said Paul was “better” than he anticipated. 

“He’s a tough, rough competitor,” he continued. “It was good action, to have fun and I was surprised by him tonight. Good little work, good guy.” 

“I don’t want anyone to tell me anything is impossible ever again,” Paul told reporters. “The fact that I’m in here with one of the greatest boxers of all time proves that the odds can be beat.”

A report from The New York Times said that both Paul and Mayweather “assuredly took home millions” from the event, but exactly how much they made is still a mystery.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The New York Times) (The Wrap)

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Amouranth Says Twitch Suspended Ads on Her Channel Without Warning

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Amouranth claims Twitch never specified what made her channel unsuitable for ads, but many have pointed to her controversial hot tub streams, which are technically allowed under the platform’s guidelines.


Amouranth Reveals Twitch Ad Suspension

Twitch streamer Kaitlyn Siragusa, known online as Amouranth, said Tuesday that the platform indefinitely suspended ads on her channel without any warning or communication. 

Siragusa has become known for her hot tub streams, a trend that has recently stirred controversy on Twitch. The platform’s terms of service technically allow streamers to wear bathing suits so long as they provide appropriate coverage and the person is streaming from a location where swimwear is standard attire. Hut tub streams fit this bill, but some believe they cross a line and are in bad taste. Others, however, think the largely female streamers participating in the trend should be allowed to continue these streams and are doing no harm.

Twitch has largely stayed out of this issue, though the company previously said it had its eyes on the situation. Now, according to Siragusa, the company might be taking a stand. 

“Yesterday I was informed that Twitch has Indefinitely Suspended Advertising on my channel,” she wrote on Twitter, claiming the company did not reach out to tell her. 

“I had to initiate the conversation after noticing, without any prior warning, all the ads revenue had disappeared from my Channel Analytics.”

“This is an ALARMING precedent,” she continued. She claimed that even if content falls within the site’s terms of service, Twitch has the ability to “target individual channels” and decide what is and is not “advertiser friendly” even though there are no clear guidelines for this. 

“There is no known policy for what results in a streamer being put on this blacklist,” Siragusa added. “With characteristic opacity, The only thing twitch made clear is that it is unclear whether or when my account can be reinstated.”

While it looks like Twitch never specified what about her channel was not advertiser-friendly, people have unsurprisingly pointed to her hot tub streams. Twitch has not issued a comment on the matter, but its alleged decision to demonetize Siragusa would be a major one. According to Kotaku, the platform has never used its power to demonetize a creator before. 

Creators Respond to Amouranth’s Claim

Online, some have cheered Twitch’s alleged decision while others have slammed the platform for its lack of communication. Several creators have echoed Siragusa’s concerns that it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to what kind of content the site can crack down on. 

“Why is it that they just didn’t come over and say, ‘stop doing this, or we are going to demonetize you.’ You know what I mean?” streamer Asmongold asked during a stream on Tuesday. 

“Look, I understand people are getting a hard-on because they’re happy this thing happened because they don’t like hot tub streamers, I get that,” he continued. “But you understand what she’s saying, she’s not wrong! She’s not wrong in saying this, this is true. And them not talking to her at all about it?” 

Streamer and adult film star Mia Malkova shared his concerns and confusion about Twitch not reaching out to Siragusa first. 

No statement/warning is ridiculous and no way to treat the people that use their platform,” Malkova said in a tweet to Siragusa. 

On Twitter, streamer Devin Nash called out those who celebrated the demonetization, claiming that while some users might agree with Twitch in this instance, the move could impact a creator they support in the future.

If you think this stops at sexual content, think again,” he wrote.

One of Twitch’s most popular streamers, xQc, who was previously very critical of hut tub streams, seemed to imply that he felt Siragusa’s demonetization signaled a potential issue for everyone on Twitch. He encouraged people to “chill out” until there is more communication from Twitch on the matter, but added that this means “things are a little bit adaptive” on the site. 

There’s a lot of people that do the same content that she does,” he said on a Tuesday stream. “And if everybody does the same content, and something was [against the terms of service], if one got banned, you guys would all say, ‘Look at the other guys that aren’t being banned.’ But now that this is against her and she loses her ads, nobody is saying, ‘But what about the other guys? Why aren’t they losing their ads?’” 

He later added that this move “might have saved everybody from losing their ads” and that Siragusa “might be a scapegoat” for other streamers, but did not elaborate on that point. 

See what others are saying: (Kotaku) (The Verge) (BBC News)

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