A Christmas song that’s drawn some major criticism in recent years won’t be played by some radio stations this holiday season. Why? The lyrics aren’t exactly winning over everyone as the song’s non-consensual theme has been the subject of massive discussion over the years. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a Cleveland radio station is pulling the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from their holiday rotation.
The song has been on the airwaves every winter since its first version in 1944 and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. Cleveland’s WDOK decided that the listener complaints about the tune were enough to pull it from the schedule, but why are people so up in arms about the lyrics?
Check out just some of the song lyrics that are questionable:
The neighbors might think (Baby it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell) (Why thank you)
I ought to say no, no, no sir (Mind if move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried (What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay (Baby don’t hold out)
Baby it’s cold outside
WDOK isn’t the only station to pull the song, as San Francisco’s 96.5 KOIT’s also yanked the tune after receiving 100 complaints. Program director Brian Figula explained to CNN, that they couldn’t ignore the complaints, noting: “For a station that’s a mass-appeal brand, like an at-work radio station, that’s a lot, and it raises a massive red flag.”
When Figula got complaints about the decision, he put up a poll for listeners to vote on whether “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” should return to the rotation. The poll noted: “After removing the song, we have received hundreds of comments on social media and via email demanding that ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ be placed back to the Christmas Playlist. We’re asking you to decide if we should continue to keep the song off the playlist, or add it back in.”
Interestingly, the daughter of the song’s composer weighed in on the matter and defended the classic song. Susan Loesser, daughter of Frank Loesser, who wrote the song, told NBC News: “Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody. Way before #Me Too, I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time.”
Further, she said her father would be “furious” about the controversy and radio stations banning the song, noting: “I think my father would be furious at that. People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, ‘this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?’ Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me… Absolutely I get it. But I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time. It was written in 1944.”
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