Listeners knew something was wrong with the Call Her Daddy podcast for months. The episode titles were getting stranger and more cryptic, containing secret messages about being prisoners. Then, after April 8, the show went dark. The final episode began with a snippet of Kesha's "Praying," and hosts Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn told listeners they could "interpret that however you want."
A few weeks later, the hosts wrote on the show's Instagram that while they legally couldn't get into what was happening behind the scenes, they encouraged fans to use the hashtag #FreeTheFathers, the nickname fans had given the hosts. Then, on May 17, the truth came out: the suspicious episode titles and pleas for freedom were all about...contract negotiations, as the New York Times details.
This reveal, and the ensuing details from the dispute, tore fans apart. Many were upset that the women would use Kesha as a symbol of their struggle, when "Praying" is about suffering sexual harassment and abuse when in actuality their dispute was about the women making either a lot of money or a shit ton of money. Others took sides — Franklyn vs. Cooper — but regardless of what you believe or who you support, the damage has been done. Call Her Daddy is done, and if it comes back, it will never be the same.
What is the Call Her Daddy podcast about?
Created independently in 2018 before moving to Barstool Sports a month later, Call Her Daddy is a show about hosts and roommates Cooper and Franklyn. In it, the pair basically just shoot the shit about dating in their 20s in ways that are refreshingly raunchy for women, albeit often not PC. Cooper described it to the New York Post as "a women’s locker-room conversation that we should be able to have." Period sex, tricking your partner into taking medication for sexually transmitted diseases, and whether or not men are allowed to do baby-talk are just some of the topics broached in their episodes, which have earned them 1.3 million followers on Instagram and a dedicated following on Reddit.
So, are Sofia Franklyn and Alex Cooper famous influencers, or just podcasters?
The pair were just two regular girls before a conversation at South by Southwest sparked the life-changing podcast in 2018. Twenty-six-year-old Cooper worked in sales at Gotham magazine before the podcast took over, according the New York Post, and 27-year-old Franklyn worked in finance. While Cooper previously released vlogs on YouTube, their fame is pretty tightly linked to the podcast.
Why is everyone mad at Sofia Franklyn and her boyfriend, Peter Nelson?
The drama over their contract dispute appears to be thanks to one person: Franklyn's boyfriend, 38-year-old HBO Sport exec Peter Nelson. According to Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, at least, Nelson was the one shopping around Call Her Daddy while Cooper and Franklyn were still under contract with Barstool Sports. Whatever the specifics are, fans are just mad that one dude may be responsible for the downfall of their favourite podcast.
Who is Suitman?
It seems like Dave Portnoy has a lot to say.
He does indeed. He was the one who broke the cryptic silence with a Call Her Daddy episode titled "Daddy Speaks" on May 17, and continues to react on the show's Instagram to this day. In his episode, he explains that after he learned that Call Her Daddy was being secretly shopped, he offered Cooper and Franklyn a $500,000 (£409k!!) annual salary, bonuses, and six months off of their initial three-year contract so they'd be free to take their talents elsewhere, sooner. Cooper, apparently, accepted, but said Franklyn would never agree because of her boyfriend — which brings us to the next bit of drama.
What did Sofia Franklyn say?
In an Instagram Story, Franklyn does not mention her boyfriend and says she is more than willing to return to the podcast on Barstool Sports, but now her issue is with Cooper. She says Cooper went behind her back, presumably with that meeting with Portnoy. Franklyn claims that Cooper is seeking more than 50/50 control of the podcast, and that she won't accept that because they've always been a partnership.
Am I crazy or is this drama all over TikTok, too?
Yes. All this drama has pissed off the show's listeners, and those listeners love the Tok. They're mad at Franklyn, they're mad at Suitman, and they're writing songs about it.
Who am I supposed to be mad at?
No-one, because the fact that this involves two women means it's being portrayed as a catty, emotional feud when if it were two men we'd see it for what it really is: a business disagreement. While in a recent Instagram post Portnoy suggests Barstool Sports would be happy to have the women back, or give them their own brand new shows, in another video he says he feels Franklyn is gearing up for a lawsuit, so while the podcast may be on hold, the drama is far from over.