In the wake of many sexual harassment claims, is 2017 the year we retire ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’?
Gayle King got so fired up over criticism of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” she accidentally swore on the air on Thursday.
The “CBS This Morning” the co-anchor expressed her affinity for the tune penned in 1944 by Frank Loesser. She spoke out in the song’s defense after a news segment on the CBS show acknowledged that some radio stations have recently banned the tune.
The CBS piece mentioned San Francisco radio station KOIT is conducting a poll to see if the song, which it banned Monday, should remain off its playlist.
“At last check, the votes were running more than 90 percent in the song’s favor. Please count me in the 90 percent,” King said to her co-hosts, John Dickerson and Norah O’Donnell. “I just feel I want to say to people: ‘It’s a Christmas song that was written years ago.’
“I think you have to look at the intent of the song, and when you look at the intent, it’s – to me – a very flirtatious back-and-forth between the two of them,” she continued. “I think you can look at anything and read something into it these days, and I just don’t think that was the case when they wrote that song and (it’s not) the intent of the song, and I think we have to look at that.”
Her co-hosts were less sold on the song’s innocence.
“People are calling in because it’s basically triggering this reaction in them,” Dickerson said, “These are people who’ve been through an experience. That’s pretty powerful.
“I totally get what you’re saying about the context,” he acknowledged, “but that powerful reaction has to be dealt with.”
O’Donnell, citing footage the show aired of Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán performing the song in “Neptune’s Daughter,” called the performance “somewhat coercive” and said that she was rethinking the song.
“Not me. So, we just have to agree to disagree,” King responded. “I just think that it’s a light, flirtatious song, and she clearly doesn’t seem to be so upset… keep looking at the whole damn – whole darn song before you make your decision.”
King after chucking from her accidental, on-air curse added: “I’m so irritated by this. (It’s like) people, sit down. We are losing our sense of humor nowadays, and I’m a big supporter and big proponent of the #MeToo movement, but I just don’t think we have to nitpick every single little thing.
“I know I’m gonna get hammered for this,” she predicted, “so let’s just move along, please.”
But Twitter reactions to King’s sentiments appeared overwhelmingly positive.
“I don’t usually agree with you Gayle King but, you hit the nail on the head this morning. Baby It’s Cold Outside is one of my favorite songs. Part of growing up is learning how to NOT be offended by everything. We are cultivating a nation of babies,” one user wrote.
“I agree with Gayle King. We are losing our sense of humor. Keep Baby it’s Cold Outside in the air!” tweeted another.
“I completely agree on your comment about ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,” shared a user. “The Me Too movement is important and real. This song being banned is too far reaching. What is next burning books?
Radio stations have pulled the song to mixed reactions.
KOSI 101.1 in Colorado, marketed as “Denver’s Holiday Station,” originally pulled the song due to listener complaints but has since reversed its decision. According to a press release from the station Tuesday, a poll with over 15,000 responses found listeners to be overwhelmingly in support of the song.
Cleveland radio station WDOK said a poll on its website showed a majority of listeners supported the ban when the decision to retire the song was made. A poll on the WDOK Facebook page Wednesday showed overwhelming support to bring the song back.
Those against the song say it promotes date rape, describing a man pressuring a woman to stay despite her adamantly telling him “no, no, no.” Other lyrics like “say, what’s in this drink?” have also raised eyebrows.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff