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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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Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat

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Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.


School Cancelled

Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.

Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere. 

“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon. 

Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday. 

“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”

In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.

According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.

Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?

As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”

For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.

 “I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???”  one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People. 

“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”

According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”

Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media. 

“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Associated Press) (People)

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Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer

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The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.


The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul

YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker. 

While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career. 

“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.

“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”

Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content. 

“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”

Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury

The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December. 

“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”

Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”

See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)

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Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos

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The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.


Bezos Prank

Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws. 

For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform. 

The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.

It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end. 

The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions. 

First Twitch Hack 

Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.

That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already. 

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

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