Sofia Franklyn of the popular podcast Call Her Daddy has spoken out about the ongoing drama regarding the future of the smut-talking, sex-positive show from Barstool Sports, accusing her cohost and best friend Alexandra Cooper of betraying her on more than one occasion.
Franklyn, 27, broke her silence after fans of the podcast known as the Daddy Gang blamed her for the ongoing drama and halt in production. The hosts haven’t recorded a podcast in more than six weeks.
“There’s been a lot of crazy shit being thrown around, and some of it is true, some of it false. I’m going to be 100% open and honest with you guys,” said Franklyn on her Instagram story on Tuesday. “I found out that Alex had gone behind my back and done something, and I found out it wasn’t the first time and that’s why we’re here.”
Fans have become increasingly frustrated with the pair over the past month following the public outing of their dispute with publisher Barstool Sports. There have been rumors of a feud between the women themselves, and allegations that at the center of it all is Franklyn’s boyfriend, executive vice president at HBO Sports Peter Nelson, known more commonly to the fandom as “suit man."
“Daddy Gang is really feeling betrayed right now,” said Brittany Danielle, a 28-year-old fan of the show from Texas who would have once described herself as a huge fan of Franklyn.
The first sign things were amiss was back in April when the pair launched the hashtag #FreeTheFathers. They issued a plea to the Daddy Gang, calling for their support in an unspecified dispute that they claimed they weren’t legally able to speak about.
Fans sensed the frustration was directed at publisher Barstool Sports. Barstool signed the podcast in 2018 to a three-year deal, which included giving the company 100% of the intellectual property.
In return, the hosts received a base salary of around $70,000 a year plus podcast download bonuses and a percentage of merchandise, according to Barstool founder Dave Portnoy.
The deal brought their first-year earnings to $461,000 for Franklyn, and $506,000 for Cooper, according to Portnoy. He said Cooper had successfully negotiated for more money six months into their contract, arguing that she did more of the work and edited the show. Fans online have speculated that this is part of the betrayal that Franklyn is referring to.
Reports later suggested that the duo were looking to jump ship in pursuit of new opportunities, something Franklyn did not deny in her Instagram story. She told her followers that Barstool Sports helped catapult the show, but both she and Cooper wanted more despite having 18 months left on their existing contract.
“After some time had passed, Alex and I then both decided that we wanted to consider some other options for multiple reasons. One of them being for the benefit of the Daddy Gang,” said Franklyn. “Do we regret the way we went about it? Absolutely. We could have handled it differently but we still wanted to work something out with Barstool, hence the meeting with Dave.”
However, the New York Post reported that the hosts soon became at odds with each other over their future. The newspaper reported the source of the rift was Nelson, who is believed to have been dating Franklyn for around a year and acting in a manager capacity.
In a podcast episode titled "Daddy Speaks" uploaded to the Call Her Daddy feed on Sunday, Portnoy presented details about the dealings with both hosts and accused Nelson of orchestrating a move for Cooper and Franklyn to a rival publisher.
Portnoy said second-year negotiations had broken down after lawyers for the pair sent through a list of demands, including $1,000,000 guaranteed base salary, 50% of merchandise, to no longer be regarded as Barstool employees but instead as freelancers, and to reclaim 100% of the intellectual property. Portnoy cut off all negotiations.
According to Portnoy, the pair stopped recording episodes and stopped coming into the office until three weeks ago, when Cooper reached out to initiate a meeting between the three of them.
In their sit down, Portnoy made a counteroffer where the hosts would receive a $500,000 guaranteed base salary, 100% of their intellectual property, and higher bonuses attached to downloads and merchandise.
“Our goal was to get Call Her Daddy back on the air,” Portnoy said. “We offered them substantial raises just to get them to honor their existing contract."
Neither agreed to the deal immediately. In the podcast, Portnoy theorized that it was because the hosts already had a deal in the works elsewhere and had no intention of continuing with Barstool. According to Portnoy, after days of silence, Cooper reached out again to share that she was happy to take the new deal, but the issue was with getting Franklyn to agree.
“I talked to Alex, and she basically says, ‘We’re never going to get a deal done. Sofia refuses to get a deal done. I get it, this deal that you just put in front of us is a no-brainer. I’ve been begging her to do it. We can’t get the deal done. I’m telling you, Dave, she’s going to move the goal post. Every time you concede and give us more, they’re going to want more.’”
In response to this, Portnoy said Barstool offered Cooper 75% of the IP if the show went on without her cohost and best friend. Franklyn returned to negotiations, but Cooper now had the upper hand and a better offer.
Franklyn, an economics graduate originally from Utah, told her followers this turn of events felt like a betrayal, but she wants to work it out.
“I trusted Alex. I feel betrayed, but ultimately she was my best friend and that doesn't change overnight and I'm willing to do Call Her Daddy, I really am, I just can't do it under the circumstances that she wants,” Franklyn said. “I can’t do it while she’s demanding that she controls the show. 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."
However, Portnoy said on the podcast that Franklyn was offered a contract for her own podcast at one point during negotiations but went silent and refused to communicate without lawyers, actions he believes were driven by Nelson’s involvement.
“He [Nelson] was trying to manipulate the situation,” said Portnoy who believes that Nelson’s involvement was fueled by a dislike for Barstool.
Fans of the podcast have been divided online with some turning on Franklyn and calling for Nelson, or “suit man,” to be “canceled.”
Danielle, the fan from Texas, said the dispute seems to go against what the hosts of the podcast always told their fans.
“The Fathers, Alex and Sofia, always preached about the rules to be a ‘daddy,’” Danielle said. “Understand that ‘you are just a hole’ was the number one rule, and for Sofia to allow a man to determine the trajectory of her career is definitely not what a daddy does. She put the dick before her friend and her career. A true daddy doesn't do that.”
In a collective statement, the largest online fan account for the podcast said the feeling among the fandom was largely “betrayal” and “sadness.”
“To us, to the Daddy Gang, this podcast was bigger than Alex and Sofia. Many are saddened to see their favorite podcast end, or the fact that it may end. They really took a boring ass day like Wednesday and made it Daddy Day.”
While some of the fandom “refuse to make judgment” until both women speak on it, comments had largely been in Cooper’s favor with people picking teams.
“Many fans still believe that Sofia is wrong and a terrible person. Many of us believe that time will tell and that all sides of the stories must be told. Either on the Call Her Daddy platform or a third party. Do it on Ellen, it doesn't matter, as long as all the sides get to tell their story.”