Radio station stops playing ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ amid Me Too movement

CLEVELAND - A Cleveland radio station has stopped playing “Baby It's Cold Outside" this holiday season after it says listeners voiced concern about the song’s predatory undertones amid the “Me Too” movement.

WDOK Christmas 102.1 pulled the song from its around-the-clock rotation of Christmas music this week after receiving a call from a listener who suggested it is inappropriate in 2018.

The call-and-response song written in the 1940s includes a woman singing that she has to leave a man’s house as he tries to lure her to stay.

In the song, the female sings “I really can’t stay,” to which the man responds, “but baby, it’s cold outside.”

Other lyrics include the woman singing “say, what’s in this drink?” and “I simply must go… the answer is no.”

“It wasn't really our decision. It's the decision of our listeners,” WDOK midday host Desiray told WJW, noting that the Christmas lineup is decided by the station’s listeners.

The station said it posted a poll about the song on its website and a clear majority of respondents supported the decision to remove the song from the station’s lineup.

Poll results were not visible on the station's website. However, a poll on the station's Facebook page showed that among more than 600 votes by Thursday night, 92% of respondents favored playing the song while just 8% felt it was inappropriate.

“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,” Desiray said. “The tune might be catchy, but let's maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center President and CEO Sondra Miller said the organization supports the decision.

“I think it's taking a 2018 lens on a song that was written a very long time ago,” she said, adding that the move reflects evolving values.

Societal norms were different when the song was written. An unmarried woman staying at a man’s house was scandalous, even if she wanted to.

In the song, the woman expresses concern about what others may think of her spending the night, as the man tries to convince her to stay.

While some might view the song and its lyrics as a playful, coy back-and-forth from another time, Miller said it may have a different meaning to a rape survivor.

“It really pushed the line of consent,” Miller said. “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.”

Miller said the song is an example of the rape culture in which we live, and the first step to preventing sexual violence is to change that.

Here are the full lyrics:

I really can't stay (but baby, it's cold outside)
I've got to go away (but 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?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I'd better scurry (beautiful please don't hurry)
But 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 sir (mind if I move in closer?)
At least I'm gonna say that I tried (what's the sense in hurtin' my pride?)
I really can't stay (oh baby don't hold out)
But baby, it's cold outside
I simply must go (but baby, it's cold outside)
The answer is no (but baby, it's cold outside)
Your welcome has been(how lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm (look out the window at this dawn)
My sister will be suspicious (gosh your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door (waves upon the tropical shore)
My maiden aunts mind is vicious (gosh your lips are delicious)
But maybe just a cigarette more (never such a blizzard before)
I've gotta get home(but baby, you'd freeze out there)
Say lend me a coat(it's up to your knees out there)
You've really been grand (i thrill when you touch my hand)
But don't you see? (how can you do this thing to me?)
There's bound to be talk tomorrow (think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied (if you got pnuemonia and died)
I really can't stay (get over that old out)
Baby, it's cold
Baby, it's cold outside

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8 comments

  • Matt

    Twas 2018, the season overly sensitive creatures. Turn the damn station if you dont want to listen to it. You know what offends me? Listening to all the reasons your offended. Keep your opinions to your damn self

  • J

    Matt perfectly said it exhausting listening to people cry over every single thing. Maybe these ridiculous people should be working instead of listening to the radio and complaining all day long

  • Mac Woods

    By this “logic” every Classic Rock radio station in this country will lose about 78% of their music, with another 20% being regarded as suspicious, and the remaining 2% on probation, until someone, somewhere is finally offended.

    • Mike

      “Def Leppard”, “Pour some sugar on me”. Aerosmith “Loving in a elevator”, the perversion was everywhere from the 60’s until now.

  • Mike

    You notice that the station said they had a poll on their website, but it’s magically gone. Anyone that knows radio stations know their website upkeep is dismal at best. Then they polled 600 people on FB and 92% said they should keep playing it. I admit some of the lyrics are a bit rapey, if you’re looking for it. She also says, “Your welcome has been so nice and warm”, “This evening has been so nice”, “Half a drink more”, But maybe one cigarette more”. “You’ve really been grand”…..The whole point of the song is she wants to stay, but being a good girl, it’d be wrong. Women don’t usually compliment, or even go inside a guys house if he’s creepy or rapey. Maybe its like they’re 4th or 5th date, and he and she knows what time it is. All guys are a little rapey when they’ve gone through the whole dating ritual and know the time for them to get “Closer” as a couple, is near at hand..It reminds me when I was dating my wife. We worked 2nd shift together, and she lived aways away, and we had a couple nights where it was way too snowy for her to drive home at that time of night. I was just as excited as that man. Also it worked out, we’ve been married for 20+ years…”Merry Christmas Everybody.”

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