Los Angeles: It’s that time of year when radio stations across the US are playing Christmas music nonstop. But one classic holiday song is proving too controversial for some stations in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”— a duet written in 1944 and performed over the years by scores of artists, including Dean Martin, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Lady Gaga — has turned into a hot potato for broadcasters, some of which have yanked the popular song on grounds the lyrics are predatory toward women. A radio station Ohio was first to announce it was pulling the song from its playlist last weekend after receiving complaints. Several other stations across the US—and even in Canada— have followed suit.
Controversy over the song has existed for years but it has notched up a level this year because of the #MeToo movement that began in the US more than a year ago in response to accusations of sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men in the entertainment industry and other sectors.
Some people have taken issue with the lyrics in the duet where a man is trying to persuade his lady friend to spend the night. The exchanges include “Say, what’s in this drink?,” “Baby, don’t hold out” and “I ought to say no, no, no sir…” — lyrics that some say seem “rapey.”
Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser penned the song in 1944 and it won an Academy Award in 1950 for best original song in the film “Neptune’s Daughter,” where it was sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban. Other artists over the years have performed the song which has become a classic holiday tune.
Critics say while the song may have not sounded offensive when it was written in 1944, it no longer belongs on the airwaves today and was an ode to sexual assault.