Star 102, WDOK-FM, calls itself “Cleveland’s Christmas station.” But its listeners are discovering that one holiday chestnut has been kicked to the curb.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” the duet in which a man tries to dissuade a woman from leaving a party despite her repeated protestations, has been pulled from the station’s Christmas playlist amid concerns about its predatory nature.
Penned by “Guys and Dolls” writer Frank Loesser in 1944, the Christmas song is perceived by some as unworthy for the most wonderful time of the year — particularly in the age of #MeToo.
“People might say, ‘Oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and read the lyrics, it’s not something that I would want my daughter to be in that kind of a situation,” midday host Desiray told CNN affiliate WJW-TV.
“The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”
The ‘Christmas Date Rape Song’
On the radio station’s website, host Glenn Anderson wrote he didn’t initially understand why the lyrics were offensive.
“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,” he 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.”
In fact, Urban Dictionary defines “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” as a “Christmas Date Rape Song.”
“What’s in this drink?” the woman asks.
“Mind if I move in closer?” the man implores. “What’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?”
“The answer is no,” she later says.
“But baby, it’s cold outside,” he responds.
Some listeners protest decsion
Sondra Miller, president of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, told WJW-TV that she backs the decision.
“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,” she said.
“I’ve asked them to stop and think about the perspective of a survivor who was raped in that type of circumstance.”
Still, some Star 102 listeners, including women, disagree with the decision, according to comments posted on the radio station’s Facebook page.
“I will not be listening to this station anymore myself if they give in to sensitive people,” one woman wrote. “The song has been out there for a long time and now it offends people. Come on. This is getting out of hand with all the people that are offended by stuff.”
It’s not the first time people have taken offense to the song.
In 2016, a couple from Minnesota re-imagined the classic for a 21st-century audience, changing the lyrics to emphasize the importance of consent.
“I really can’t stay,” the woman sings in their rewritten version.
“Baby I’m fine with that,” the man responds.
“I’ve got to go away,”
“Baby I’m cool with that.”