Radio Station Drops ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ After Listener Concerns In Wake Of #MeToo Movement
A radio station in Cleveland that is playing a heavy rotation of Christmas music for the season is omitting a classic from their playlist this year to accommodate listeners who spoke out against the song. Star 102, which switches to a Christmas format for the holidays, posted on their website this week that they would no longer play any rendition of the holiday classic "Baby It's Cold Outside" after listeners told station staff they thought the song was no longer appropriate.
The song, which was written in 1944, has been performed by dozens of huge names in the music world, including Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Dean Martin, Robert Palmer and Carnie Wilson, Vanessa Williams and Bobby Caldwell, Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brett Eldredge and Meghan Trainor, and many others.
The post from Star 102 afternoon personality Glenn Anderson explains that their "CEOs" (Christmas Executive Officers, or the listeners) voiced that the song was no longer appropriate. The DJ went on to say he initially didn't explain the concern over the song, but after analyzing the lyrics he says he agrees with the decision. Anderson went on to explain that while the song was written "in a different time", he calls the lyrics "manipulative and wrong" when you look at them in our current time.
The station's Facebook page has seen an outpouring of comments both in favor of, and against the decision to pull the song. While there were some that appreciated the decision, a sizable number of comments disagreed with the station's move. Some simply lamented not being able to hear the song in the playlist, while others expressed disappointment or anger over the decision. A listener by the name of Gina A. went on to try to provide a point of reference for the lyrics, offering the following:
It was written for Frank Loesser to sing with his wife. It was thier song. It was a period of time when a phrase “so whats in this drink?” was a common idiom used by many. At this time it was frowned upon for a woman to be alone with a man. The woman in the song was there of her own free will. She said her evening was “very nice”. He never said he wouldn’t let her go, he begged her to stay. I’ve been begged to stay and never once did I feel like a victim.
So, do you agree with the station's decision, or with the people defending the song?
Here are a couple verses critics of the song point to as examples. You can see the full lyric posting here.
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
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
Songwriters: Frank Loesser
This isn't the first time the theme of this song has been called out with media around the country taking notice. In 2016, a couple re-wrote a version of the song that emphasized consent. While the song appears to have been removed from SoundCloud, you can see more about the re-write in a story CNN did on the couple and their version of the classic.