Out of respect for the #MeToo movement and in response to listeners’ concerns, a Cleveland, Ohio, radio station will not play “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” this holiday season.
The 1940s-eara song playfully recounts an exchange between a woman singing that she has to leave a man’s house (“I really can’t stay”) while he tries to persuade her not to go (“but baby it’s cold outside.”) At one point during the exchange the woman sings, “say, what’s in this drink?” While the man asks, “Can I move in closer,” and tells her, “Gosh your lips look delicious,” among other suggestive comments.
When a listener called into WDOK Christmas 102.1 and suggested that the song wasn’t appropriate in light of the #MeToo movement, the company decided it was probably a good idea to oblige and pull the song from its 24-hour Christmas-song rotation.
“It wasn’t really our decision,” midday host Desiray told Cleveland’s Fox8. “It’s the decision of our listeners.” The station posted a poll on its website to gauge listeners’ interest, but those results were not visible. A separate poll on WDOK’s Facebook page garnered more than 600 votes, and the vast majority of those who responded – 92 percent – said they had no problem with the Christmas classic being played on air.
However, Desiray said it was the right thing to do. “People might say, ‘Oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not something I would want my daughter to be in that kind of a situation,” she said. “The tune may be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”
The city’s Rape Crisis Center agrees, adding that while playful in its nature, the song could be hurtful to a rape survivor. “It really pushed the line of consent,” Sondra Miller, the Rape Crisis Center’s president and CEO, told Fox8. “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.”