On Sunday night, Peter Nelson’s name shot into the zeitgeist after Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy commandeered the “Call Her Daddy” podcast to explain, in great detail, the new drama surrounding the smutty show.
He backed up reporting by The Post about how the co-hosts, Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, aren’t speaking to each other — and how Peter Nelson, Franklyn’s beau, is allegedly engineering the brouhaha.
So who exactly is Nelson?
He’s a honcho at HBO Sports
The 38-year-old New Yorker — who graduated from Harvard with a degree in ancient Greek and also contributed to the Harvard Lampoon — is the executive vice president of HBO Sports. He joined the network in 2011 and took on his current role in 2015. The Newton, Mass., native oversees major franchises including “Real Sports” and “Hard Knocks”; rolled out the talk show “The Shop”; and produced “Being Serena,” a docuseries on Serena Williams. After championing boxing coverage in his early years at HBO, Nelson stirred up a controversy when he cut live boxing from the network’s 2019 lineup, explaining it no longer pulled in new subscribers.
In 2019, Sports Business Journal named Nelson to its 40 Under 40 list. He told the publication that he supports the American Ballet Theatre, thinks the sports industry needs to do a better job of “elevating women’s stories” — and that he’d like to be a competitive eater. And he’s probably not enjoying all the attention he’s getting right now, as Nelson explained that his guilty pleasure is staying off social media.
He’s been dating Sofia Franklyn for at least a year
The 28-year-old “Call Her Daddy” co-host started talking about her boyfriend on the show around mid-2019.
It’s unclear how the two met, but they were photographed together in April last year at the Village Fête — a fundraiser for the hipster Brooklyn art space Pioneer Works. (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Rock and director Darren Aronofsky were all on last year’s host committee.)
‘Call Her Daddy’ fans know him as ‘Suitman’
Whenever Franklyn has talked about Nelson on the podcast, she’s avoided using his real name. Instead, she and Cooper refer to him only as “Suitman,” a la Carrie Bradshaw talking about “Mr. Big” on “Sex and the City.”
He apparently mixes business with pleasure
The Post reported that Nelson was quietly shopping the “Call Her Daddy” hosts to other outlets while they were still under contract with Barstool, and even landed a deal for them with podcast giant Wondery. According to Portnoy, Nelson allegedly was advising Franklyn not to return to Barstool, despite the company offering a deal that included a $500,000 guaranteed salary and the brand’s intellectual property at the end of the pair’s contract, which was also shortened by six months.
Cooper, Portnoy claimed on his version of the podcast, wanted to take the deal, while Franklyn allegedly balked — leading to bad blood between the two friends. (A source close to Franklyn previously told The Post: “Sofia agreed to the financial terms of Barstool’s offer but hasn’t heard back from them. She wants to continue the podcast with her friend 50/50.”)
Portnoy also claimed on the podcast that Nelson “probably greenlit a hit piece on me not too long ago,” in reference to a 2019 episode of “Real Sports” that includes allegations by women who claimed they had been harassed online — and that it was encouraged by Barstool — after voicing criticism of the brand.
In a statement, a representative for HBO told The Post: “The ‘Real Sports’ profile of Barstool Sports was generated by the producer and correspondent with supervision by the ‘Real Sports’ senior production team. From the moment the segment idea was presented to [the team], Peter Nelson removed himself from any involvement. He had no involvement in the segment. Never reviewed copy or video.” (Representatives for Nelson, Franklyn and Cooper did not return The Post’s requests for comment.)
Nelson’s got his own merch
Normally, that would be a good thing, but here it’s a dubious honor. After Portnoy dropped the salacious podcast episode and made the dramatic behind-the-scenes allegations, “Call Her Daddy” fans immediately began blaming Nelson — circulating the hashtag #CancelSuitman on social media platforms. Barstool is now offering a line of “Call Her Daddy” gear emblazoned with the battle cry.