Baby it's cold outside ban

Toronto radio stations pulling classic holiday song from the airwaves

Is an Academy Award-winning love song from 1944 "too rapey" for Christmas in 2018?

This is the question behind a raging online debate this week as North American radio stations pull the classic holiday tune "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from their rotations.

The controversial call-and-response duet, which includes lyrics like "I ought to say no, no, no," and "baby don't hold out," has been coming under fire around this time of year with some regularity over the past decade.

Critics have blasted the song using such terms as "date rape anthem," "undeniably, unquestionably predatory" and "unforgivable" in recent years, arguing that it should be considered a relic of a less inclusive era.

Others, like Canadian actor William Shatner for some reason, say it's much ado about nothing.

After all, the song is a holiday classic. It won an Oscar for best original song after appearing in the 1949 romantic comeday Neptune's Daughter and has since been covered by everyone from Louis Armstrong and Dean Martin to Anne Murray and Michael Bublé.

This year, it was a radio host from Ohio that sparked the blaze of hate on Twitter with a blog post explaining why his station, Star 102 in Cleveland, would no longer play the song.

"I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time," wrote Glenn Andersen in a post on the station's website last week. "But now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong."

"The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended," he continued. "In a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place."

Today, three of Canada's largest radio broadcasters (Rogers Media, Bell Media and the CBC) confirmed that they, too, had decided to pull the carol from their holiday playlists.

"The song wasn't scheduled for airplay on any Bell Media Radio stations and there are no plans to play it in the future," said Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson to the Canadian Press.

Rogers, which runs the all-Christmas music 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto, said similarly that it would not be playing "Baby It's Cold Outside" this year.

Some are applauding the move online, while others are holding it up as a symptom of political correctness gone too far.

Others still, like comedian and noted feminist Jen Kirkman, say the lyrics are being misinterpreted by those living in the age of outrage.

"The song has a lot to teach us about how society views women’s sexuality. But the lesson of this song is NOT that it's about forcing a woman into sex," said Kirkman on Twitter this weekend in response to the debate.

"If you want to be outraged, be outraged about what the song is actually about," she continued.

"The double standard in regards to sex that women face and how nothing much has changed. And then enjoy the song. It's a delight."

Lead photo by

Paul Flynn


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