A Cleveland radio station that has been playing around the clock Christmas music has decided to pull the 1940s classic Baby It’s Cold Outside, citing concerns over the MeToo movement.
Station WDOK Christmas 102.1 yanked the song after fielding a call from a concerned listener who suggested the song was inappropriate in this day and age.
“It wasn’t really our decision. It’s the decision of our listeners,” station’s midday host Desiray told WJW News, noting the song lineup is decided by the station’s listeners.
The 1940s duet is usually performed by a male, who tries to persuade a female to stay at his place because of the wintry weather.
“My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour” reads a verse.
“I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside” reads another.
In a blog post on the radio station’s website, afternoon host Glenn Anderson said he didn’t really understand why the lyrics seemed bad “until I read them.”
“Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong,” Anderson said. “The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”
The station quizzed its listeners in a Facebook poll, asking whether it should play the “classic” or whether it is “inappropriate.” As of Friday afternoon, 94 per cent of the 2,000 votes said the song was a “classic” and should be played.
“Then I guess you should stop playing Santa baby, I saw mommy kissing Santa, Grandma got run over, because people think those are offensive too,” Michelle Nicola commented on the Facebook poll. “This PC stuff is getting ridiculous, play whatever if people don’t like it they will turn the knob. You will never please everyone 100 per cent.”
“This song IS inappropriate, but I also understand it was written in the 40’s,” Arlyn Frances Wheatcraft commented. “Erasing history won’t change the future, education will.”
“You have that song all wrong. It is a love song, a conversation between a couple,” Maryann Tyukodi Langille chimed in. “He would like her to stay and she wants to go home. It is a conversation that probably happens a lot. This is total nonsense and you guys should be ashamed of your selves.”
Cleveland Rape Crisis Center president and CEO Sondra Miller praised the station’s decision to no longer play the holiday song.
“I think it’s taking a 2018 lens on a song that was written a very long time ago,” Miller told WJW News. “It really pushed the line of consent. The character in the song is saying ‘no,’ and they’re saying well, ‘does no really mean yes’ and I think in 2018 what we know is consent is ‘yes’ and if you get a ‘no,’ it means ‘no’ and you should stop right there.”
Many stations all across Canada have followed suit and removed the track from their airwaves.
Bell Media’s Scott Henderson told Broadcast Dialogue that the song was not scheduled this entire season, “The song wasn’t scheduled for airplay on any Bell Media Radio stations and there are no plans to play it in the future.”
Rogers Radio said their 98.1 CHFI-FM Toronto station, which switches over to strickly Chrismas music starting in December, hasn’t played the tune in over a year while Stingray Radio originally left the decision to stop its airplay to individual program directors, but ultimately decided to stop it altogether.
A spokesperson for Stingray said, “Offending people isn’t the purpose of Christmas music. Whether we agree with each other or not, the reality is that if some people are offended by the lyrics, we can certainly live without it and not offend those listeners.”
Corus Radio’s Chris Sarpong says the song will have a limited play cycle, “On our stations that play Christmas music, we currently have the song in limited rotation.” Adding, “We are gauging the reaction of our audience, which to this point has been in favour of continuing to play it.”
Following the news, William Shatner took to Twitter to share his thoughts.
“For those that are complaining ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is misogynistic (my favourite word) have you actually seen the 1949 ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ premiere of the song?” he wrote.
Adding, “I’m claiming misandry for Red Skelton!”