A Cleveland radio station has stopped playing a popular Christmas song that's been around since the 1940s, CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO reports. Star 102 Cleveland listeners raised concerns about the lyrics of the song "Baby It's Cold Outside," with some saying the words send the wrong message in the era of the #MeToo movement.
Radio host Glenn Anderson wrote about the station's decision to stop playing the song. "We used to play the song 'Baby It's Cold Outside,' but you're the Christmas Executive Officer at Star 102 and you told us it's no longer appropriate," Anderson wrote on Tuesday. I gotta be honest, I didn't understand why the lyrics were so bad...Until I read them."
The song is sung as a duet between a man and a woman. The woman makes it clear she is worried about being with the man late into the night, while he adamantly tells her to say with him because, "Baby, it's cold outside."
Anderson shared the song's lyrics, which include lines like: "Say, what's in this drink?", "I really can't stay / Baby don't hold out" and "I ought to say no, no, no / Mind if I move in closer?" The woman also wonders aloud what others might think of her if she stays.
Written in 1944, song rose to popularity in the 1949 film "Neptune's Daughter." It was sung between Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán's characters, and then by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton, who reversed the roles.
The song was written by popular Broadway composer Frank Loesser, who originally performed it as a humorous number with his wife. But the lyrics, in today's context, have taken on somewhat more sinister connotations. After the "Me Too" movement gained momentum last year, more women have been speaking out about sexual harassment and assault, and society has become more aware than ever of how widespread the problem really is. The suggestive lines in the song now drum up images of men like Harvey Weinstein, who's been accused of preventing women from leaving hotel rooms, and Bill Cosby, who was convicted of drugging and sexual assaulting a woman.
Criticism of the lyrics in "Baby It's Cold Outside" actually has been building for several years. Some Twitter users called out the "date-rapey" undertones of the song in 2013, and a number of publications have run articles questioning the song's meaning.
n 2014, Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé released a duet of the song and changed a few lyrics to be more family-friendly, with lines like, "Maybe just a soda-pop more / Put some records on while I pour." They also had child actors playing the roles of the couple in the music video.
In his blog post, Anderson said the song has no place on today's radio, but also asked listeners what they think and included an online poll question about it.
"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 wrote. "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. What do you think?" The results of the poll are not visible on Star 102's website.
I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
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
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
I've got to get home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that hold out
Ah, but it's cold outside