Whether you like them or not, you’ve probably heard of Barstool Sports. I remember my brothers talking about the website when they were still based in Milton, MA, and have since become a household name. Known for not shying away from controversy and saying what comes to each person’s mind. Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, and Erika Nardini, the company’s CEO, face every bashing of their company with a brave face and a strong united front. They have numerous slogans, such as “Saturdays are for the boys,” that other companies try to emulate in one way or another. The company has multiple super successful podcasts for every type of listener. Pardon My Take for the sports fans, Schnitt Talk for the silly, relatable girl viewers, KFC Radio – not for the chicken lovers but for people who enjoy pure buffoonery between two friends, and of course, Call Her Daddy for the people in tune with their intimate desires.
Call Her Daddy, hosted by Alex Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, has been off the internet airwaves without a new episode since the beginning of April. There has been some speculation as to why the podcast stopped releasing new episodes for the past 6 weeks. Portnoy took to the podcast on Sunday night to release and episode explaining what was going on behind the scenes with the wildly popular podcast.
To make a very long story as short as possible, the New York Post published an articledetailing what was going on with the girls at Call Her Daddy and the Barstool executives. Portnoy reached a signed 3-year agreement with the women for their podcast. The women didn’t want to hand the name Call Her Daddy over to Barstool, however, the company didn’t want to give the podcast a ton of exposure for them to walk out the door before their contract was up. Cooper and Franklyn have been known to poke fun at their own expense for being “poor.” Portnoy exposed that to be a lie. The pair each made around $500k in the first year partnering with Barstool.
During renegotiations, their lawyers sent Portnoy a list of demands to be included in a new contract, including $1 million guaranteed for the duo, 50% of merchandise sales, and Barstool gives the name back to Cooper and Franklyn. In a counteroffer, Portnoy agreed to their demands but added that Barstool kept the Call Her Daddy alcohol deal. After a few weeks of no new episodes, the pair asked to meet with Portnoy. He offered another newly renegotiated deal. Portnoy would give the women $500k guaranteed each, increased bonuses, and cut 6 months off their contract. Making the time remaining on their current contract only 1 year.
Where Things Went Wrong!
Things got messy when Alex Cooper reached out to Portnoy to talk one on one. According to Portnoy’s recount of the conversation, Alex said that Sofia wouldn’t agree to any new contract. Alex wanted to sign on to the deal proposed to them on Portnoy’s roof deck. Portnoy later learned that Sofia’s new boyfriend, Peter “The Suit” Nelson had brought in lawyers to void the current contract. Erika Nardini and Dave Portnoy believe that Nelson had been shopping the podcast around and came to an agreement with another podcast network, Wondery. After the apparent deal with Wondery fell through, Sofia wanted to continue working with Barstool. However, Alex decided that she should be getting more of a percentage because she does more work. That lead to a messy she said, she said legal situation that they’ll be fighting about for quite some time.
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, I have to get this out of the way because I’ve seen many tweets on the topic. Peter Nelson, an exec at HBO, is one of the main culprits on the downfall of the podcast. As a Shrek enthusiast, I need to confirm that he does look like Lord Farquaad.
Secondly, I’m definitely on #TeamBarstool, if that hashtag exists. Dave Portnoy can be quite an annoying figure on the internet, however, that’s an internet persona he plays up. He closed his episode by summarizing a text he sent to Cooper. He pretty harshly said, “In my 17 years of doing this, I have never dealt with anyone as unprofessional and disloyal and greedy.” He seems to be utterly correct by saying that. They’re in breach of contract since they haven’t produced any content in more than a month and were shopping their podcast around, which they don’t currently own the trademark for.
I’ve seen a lot of takes on the whole matter at hand and agree with the majority of them. One person I spoke to said, “[Peter Nelson] deliberately violated their deal and if I had to guess, I think if they can, Alex comes back and Sofia doesn’t. The crazy part is, I think Alex is smart enough to know what happened. She just wants to get back on the air. I think Sofia looks wrong and knows she does and now is trying to make up for it. You made 467,000 dollars last year and you’re going to get 500 grand GUARANTEED to start. Not to mention, you only have to be with Barstool for 12 months as opposed to 18. How the F— do you turn that down?”
I don’t understand how anyone would turn down the deal offered to them. Sure, I understand that the content that Barstool puts out can be controversial. It certainly isn’t for everyone. But they provide incredible exposure and they’re cutting 6 months off your remaining contract. Then, you’re free to do whatever you want. That’s a no-brainer since you’re already under contract, why not shorten it and avoid lawsuits that you will absolutely lose.
-Jess Donahue (@jldx392)
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