Nation & World

It’s a #MeToo Christmas. That’s why radio stations are banning ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’

One radio station in Ohio says it will not be playing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” this holiday season because its lyrics “have no place” after the #MeToo movement.
One radio station in Ohio says it will not be playing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” this holiday season because its lyrics “have no place” after the #MeToo movement. Video screenshot

One radio station in Ohio is wishing you a very Merry #MeToo Christmas.

Cleveland’s Star 102.9 will not be playing Frank Loesser’s holiday classic, “Baby, It’s’ Cold Outside” this year, according to a statement on the station’s website.

The song’s lyrics “have no place” in the post-#MeToo media landscape we now reside in, afternoon drive host Glenn Anderson wrote in the statement.

“Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time,” Anderson wrote. “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, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”

The song’s second verse probably contains the most red flag indicators of improper behavior. There’s a reference to a possible date-rape drug-type scenario (“Hey what’s in this drink?”) followed by several attempts to resist the male singer’s advances, and finally, the eye-rolling thought of just giving in, because, “at least I’m gonna say I tried” and “what’s the point of hurtin my pride”?

The radio station included a reader poll in its post on the decision not to play the song, but as of Friday, the site said that the results of the poll “are not available.”

The station also asked readers on Twitter whether the decision to ax “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from its playlist was the right one. Many thought the ban went too far.

WAKE UP @Star102CLE,” one listener replied. ‘“Baby it’s cold outside’ back on the air or be fair and take off ‘Santa baby’ too. Have you ever actually looked into the lyrics to that song? Do you want your daughter growing up saying ‘gimme gimme?’”

Another tweeted that if they’re going to get rid of the 70-year-old song over its lyrics, we might as well just “cancel Christmas” while we’re at it.

But not everyone felt that way.

It is far easier to make fun of the station for the move if you “have never been assaulted,” one user replied.

One USA Today columnist pondered whether last Christmas would be the holiday season we collectively tossed the song out on the cultural trash heap because of its outdated notions of sex roles between the genders. But another USA Today columnist said all the culture warriors pointing to the song’s faults just needed to “chill out.”

Concern over the song’s lyrics is nothing new, though. In 2016, musicians Lydia Liza and Josia Lemanski re-imagined the song with lyrics about consent, NPR reported.

Jay Cresswell, the program director for KLUV, a station in Dallas-Fort Worth, told McClatchy in an email that he took all five of the versions of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in his station’s database, out of the Christmas rotation last year.

“KLUV listeners aren’t exactly a bastion of political correctness,” Cresswell said. “Though it certainly seemed to be a big issue last year.”

Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.