Podcast Corner: Jamie Lynn Spears talks Britney; revisiting controversial Succession piece

Jamie Lynn has a two-part interview on Call Her Daddy, while a New Yorker writer chats about the furore caused by his piece on Jeremy Strong
Podcast Corner: Jamie Lynn Spears talks Britney; revisiting controversial Succession piece

Jeremy Strong and Jamie Lynn Spears.

Controversial is the word that has best described Call Her Daddy since it began in October 2018. Co-hosts Alex Cooper and Sofia Franklyn ‘putting a modern take on feminism’ with NSFW takes on all matters of sex - setting the templates for the likes of defunct Irish podcast It Galz.

US digital media company Barstool Sports snapped them up and the podcast surged, before a pay dispute in 2020 saw the feed fall silent. Barstool founder Dave Portnoy explained they “weren’t doing their jobs” (episode 81- ‘Daddy Speaks’), the co-hosts split, and eventually ‘single father’ Cooper brought the show exclusively to Spotify in a $60m-plus deal.

Podcast newsworthiness is an interesting theme for a medium optimised for consuming in your own time, at your leisure. But Jamie Lynn Spears’ appearance on January 18 was always going to make waves post #FreeBritney and coinciding with a memoir by Jamie Lynn. 

Her appearance is a good subject for media studies students: Can you take everything she says at face value? Er, not when she peppers the Call Her Daddy interview with claims she can’t remember whole seismic moments in her life. “I was a prop to a lot of things,” she tells Cooper. “I was never allowed to do anything or say anything that would put my sister in a bad light.” She says she did try to help Britney, who was in a now well-documented conservatorship under her father.

A cease-and-desist letter arrived from Britney’s legal team following the episode’s release; the singer also hit back at Jamie Lynn’s claims on Instagram. In part two of the interview, released on January 20, Jamie Lynn reads out a lengthy text she says she sent Britney trying to help end the conservatorship, adding later: “I’m still nervous, this sucks - this sucks! But hey, the truth is the truth and at the end of the day, I don’t have any options left, so do whatever.” 

 One of the most viral stories of 2021, came late in the year, following a New Yorker profile by Michael Schulman of Succession actor Jeremy Strong. Some saw it as a hit-piece, with Strong’s friends and collaborators - such as Jessica Chastain, who tweeted out a letter from Aaron Sorkin (who doesn’t have social media) - seeking to defend him, issuing statements over social media. Defending him from what exactly seems unclear.

Schulman appeared on the long-running Longform podcast on January 19 to discuss how the profile came about - Strong threw himself into it - the reaction to it, and what it’s like to find yourself on the wrong end of a social media furore. Of the Sorkin memo, Schulman says he was panicked, “because it’s just uncomfortable for someone to be sharing your correspondence with them”. 

He adds: “But then I read it very carefully and saw that I hadn’t changed a single word - I had quoted him absolutely accurately.” One wonders if Jamie Lynn Spears could say the same thing.

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