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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

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 Frankly’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. 

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

“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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Influencers Exposed for Posting Fake Private Jet Photos

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  • A viral tweet showed a studio set in Los Angeles, California that is staged to look like the inside of a private jet.
  • Some influencers were called out for using that very same studio to take social media photos and videos.
  • While some slammed them for faking their lifestyles online, others poked fun at the behavior and noted that this is something stars like Bow Wow have been caught doing before.
  • Others have even gone so far as to buy and pose with empty designer shopping bags to pretend they went on a massive spending spree.

A tweet went viral over the weekend exposing the secret behind some influencer travel photos.

“Nahhhhh I just found out LA ig girlies are using studio sets that look like private jets for their Instagram pics,” Twitter user @maisonmelissa wrote Thursday.

“It’s crazy that anything you’re looking at could be fake. The setting, the clothes, the body… idk it just kinda of shakes my reality a bit lol,” she continued in a tweet that quickly garnered over 100,000 likes.

The post included photos of a private jet setup that’s actually a studio in California, which you can rent for $64 an hour on the site Peerspace.

As the tweet picked up attention, many began calling out influencers who they noticed have posted photos or videos in that very same studio.

@the7angels

Come fly with the angels 👼

♬ Hugh Hefner – ppcocaine

Perhaps the most notable influencers to be called out were the Mian Twins, who eventually edited their Instagram captions to admit they were on a set.

While a ton of people were upset about this, others pointed out that it’s not exactly that new of an idea. Even Bow Wow was once famously called out in 2017 for posting a private plane photo on social media before being spotted on a commercial flight. 

Twitter users even noted other ridiculous things some people do for the gram, like buying out empty shopping bags to pretend they’ve gone on a shopping spree.

Meanwhile, others poked fun at the topic, like Lil Nas X, who is never one to miss out on a viral internet moment. He photoshopped himself into the fake private jet, sarcastically writing, “thankful for it all,” in his caption.

So ultimately, it seems like the moral of this story is: don’t believe everything you see on social media.

See what others are saying: (LADBible) (Dazed Digital) (Metro UK)

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South Korea’s Supreme Court Upholds Rape Case Sentences for Korean Stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon

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  • On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court in Seoul upheld the sentences of Jung Joon Young and Choi Jong Hoon for aggravated rape and related charges.
  • Jung will serve five years in prison, while Choi will go to prison for two-and-a-half.
  • Videos of Jung, Choi, and others raping women were found in group chats that stemmed from investigations into Seungri, of the k-pop group BigBang, as part of the Burning Sun Scandal.
  • The two stars tried to claim that some of the sex was consensual, but the courts ultimately found testimony from survivors trustworthy. Courts did, however, have trouble finding victims who were willing to come forward over fears of social stigma.

Burning Sun Scandal Fall Out

South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld the rape verdicts against stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon on Thursday after multiple appeals by the stars and their co-defendants.

Both Jung and Choi were involved in an ever-growing scandal involving the rapes and sexual assaults of multiple women. Those crimes were filmed and distributed to chatrooms without their consent.

The entire scandal came to light in March of 2019 when Seungri from the k-pop group BigBang was embroiled in what’s now known as the Burning Sun Scandal. As part of an investigation into the scandal, police found a chatroom that featured some stars engaging in what seemed to be non-consensual sex with various women. Police found that many of the message in the Kakaotalk chatroom (the major messaging app in South Korea) from between 2015 and 2016 were sent by Jung and Choi.

A Year of Court Proceedings

Jung, Choi, and five other defendants found themselves in court in November 2019 facing charges related to filming and distributing their acts without the consent of the victims, as well as aggravated rape charges. In South Korea, this means a rape involving two or more perpetrators.

The court found them all guilty of the rape charge. Jung was sentenced to six years behind bars, while Choi and the others were sentenced to five years. Jung was given a harsher sentence because he was also found guilty of filming and distributing the videos of their acts without the victim’s consent.

During proceedings, the court had trouble getting victims to tell their stories. Many feared being shamed or judged because of the incidents and didn’t want the possibility of that information going public. Compounding the court’s problems was the fact that other victims were hard to find.

To that end, the defendants argued that the sexual acts with some of the victims were consensual, albeit this didn’t leave out the possibility that there were still victims of their crimes. However, the court found that the testimony of survivors was trustworthy and contradicted the defendant’s claims.

Jung and Choi appealed the decision, which led to more court proceedings. In May 2020, the Seoul High Court upheld their convictions but reduced their sentences to five years for Jung and two and a half years for Choi.

Choi’s sentence was reduced because the court found that he had reached a settlement with a victim.

The decision was appealed a final time to the Supreme Court. This time they argued that most of the evidence against them, notably the Kakaotalk chatroom messages and videos, were illegally obtained by police.

On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court ultimately disagreed with Jung and Choi and said their revised sentences would stand.

Jung, Choi, and the other defendants will also still have to do 80 hours of sexual violence treatment courses and are banned from working with children for five years.

See What Others Are Saying: (ABC) (Yonhap News) (Soompi)

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YouTube Says It Will Use AI to Age-Restrict Content

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  • YouTube announced Tuesday that it would be expanding its machine learning to handle age-restricting content.
  • The decision has been controversial, especially after news that other AI systems employed by the company took down videos at nearly double the rate.
  • The decision likely stems from both legal responsibilities in some parts of the world, as well as practical reasons regarding the amount of content loaded to the site.
  • It might also help with moderator burn out since the platform is currently understaffed and struggles with extremely high turn over.
  • In fact, the platform still faces a lawsuit from a moderator claiming the job gave them Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They also claim the company offered little resources to cope with the content they are required to watch.

AI-Age Restrictions

YouTube announced Tuesday that it will use AI and machine learning to automatically apply age restriction to videos.

In a recent blog post, the platform wrote, “our Trust & Safety team applies age-restrictions when, in the course of reviewing content, they encounter a video that isn’t appropriate for viewers under 18.”

“Going forward, we will build on our approach of using machine learning to detect content for review, by developing and adapting our technology to help us automatically apply age-restrictions.”

Flagged videos would effectively be blocked from being viewed by anyone who isn’t signed into an account or who has an account indicating they are below the age of 18. YouTube stated these changes were a continuation of their efforts to make YouTube a safer place for families. Initially, it rolled out YouTube Kids as a dedicated platform for those under 13, and now it wants to try and sterilize the platform site-wide. Although notably, it doesn’t plan to make the entire platform a new YouTube Kids.

It’s also not a coincidence that this move helps YouTube to better fall in line with regulations across the world. In Europe, users may face other steps if YouTube can’t confirm their age in addition to rolling out AI-age restrictions. This can include measures such as providing a government ID or credit card to prove one is over 18.

If a video is age-restricted by YouTube, the company did say it will have an appeals process that will get the video in front of an actual person to check it.

On that note, just days before announcing that it would implement AI to age-restrict, YouTube also said it would be expanding its moderation team after it had largely been on hiatus because of the pandemic.

It’s hard to say how much these changes will actually affect creators or how much money that can make from the platform. The only assurances YouTube gave were to creators who are part of the YouTube Partner Program.

“For creators in the YouTube Partner Program, we expect these automated age-restrictions to have little to no impact on revenue as most of these videos also violate our advertiser-friendly guidelines and therefore have limited or no ads.”

This means that most creators with the YouTube Partner Program don’t make much, or anything, from ads already and that’s unlikely to change.

Community Backlash

Every time YouTube makes a big change there are a lot of reactions, especially if it involves AI to automatically handle processes. Tuesday’s announcement was no different.

On YouTube’s tweet announcing the changes, common responses included complaints like, “what’s the point in an age restriction on a NON kids app. That’s why we have YouTube kids. really young kids shouldn’t be on normal youtube. So we don’t realistically need an age restriction.”

“Please don’t implement this until you’ve worked out all the kinks,” one user pleaded. “I feel like this might actually hurt a lot of creators, who aren’t making stuff for kids, but get flagged as kids channels because of bright colors and stuff like that”

Hiccups relating to the rollout of this new system were common among users. Although it’s possible that YouTube’s Sept 20. announcement saying it would bring back human moderators to the platform was made to help balance out how much damage a new AI could do.

In a late-August transparency report, YouTube found that AI-moderation was far more restrictive. When the moderators were first down-sized between April and June, YouTube’s AI largely took over and it removed around 11 million videos. That’s double the normal rate.

YouTube did allow creators to appeal those decisions, and about 300,000 videos were appealed; about half of which were reinstated. In a similar move, Facebook also had a similar problem, and will also bring back moderators to handle both restrictive content and the upcoming election.

Other Reasons for the Changes

YouTube’s decision to expand its use of AI not only falls in line with various laws regarding the verification of a user’s age and what content is widely available to the public but also likely for practical reasons.

The site gets over 400 hours of content uploaded every minute. Notwithstanding different time zones or having people work staggered schedules, YouTube would need to employ over 70,000 people to just check what’s uploaded to the site.

Outlets like The Verge have done a series about how YouTube, Google, and Facebook moderators are dealing with depression, anger, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of their job. These issues were particularly prevalent among people working in what YouTube calls the “terror” or “violent extremism” queue.

One moderator told The Verge, “Every day you watch someone beheading someone, or someone shooting his girlfriend. After that, you feel like wow, this world is really crazy. This makes you feel ill. You’re feeling there is nothing worth living for. Why are we doing this to each other?”

That same individual noted that since working there, he began to gain weight, lose hair, have a short temper, and experience general signs of anxiety.

On top of these claims, YouTube is also facing a lawsuit filed in a California court Monday by a former content moderator at YouTube.

The complaint states that Jane Doe, “has trouble sleeping and when she does sleep, she has horrific nightmares. She often lays awake at night trying to go to sleep, replaying videos that she has seen in her mind.

“She cannot be in crowded places, including concerts and events, because she fears mass shootings. She has severe and debilitating panic attacks,” it continued. “She has lost many friends because of her anxiety around people. She has trouble interacting and being around kids and is now scared to have children.”

These issues weren’t just for people working on the “terror” queue, but anyone training to become a moderator.

“For example, during training, Plaintiff witnessed a video of a smashed open skull with people eating from it; a woman who was kidnapped and beheaded by a cartel; a person’s head being run over by a tank; beastiality; suicides; self-harm; children being rapped [sic]; births and abortions,” the complaint alleges.

“As the example was being presented, Content Moderators were told that they could step out of the room. But Content Moderators were concerned that leaving the room would mean they might lose their job because at the end of the training new Content Moderators were required to pass a test applying the Community Guidelines to the content.”

During their three-week training, moderators allegedly don’t receive much resilience training or wellness resources.

These kinds of lawsuits aren’t unheard of. Facebook faced a similar suit in 2018, where a woman claimed that during her time as a moderator she developed PTSD as a result of “constant and unmitigated exposure to highly toxic and extremely disturbing images at the workplace.”

That case hasn’t yet been decided in court. Currently, Facebook and the plaintiff agreed to settle for $52 million, pending approval from the court.

The settlement would only apply to U.S. moderators

See what others are saying: (CNET) (The Verge) (Vice)

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