‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ pulled from some Canadian radio stations

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TORONTO — “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is getting a chilly response from Canadian radio stations.

At least two of the country’s biggest radio operators — Rogers Media and Bell Media — say they’ve decided to pull the controversial Christmas favourite out of their rotations this year.

That comes as the duet, written back in 1944, faces renewed scrutiny over what some say are inappropriate lyrics in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Earlier this week, Cleveland radio station WDOK-FM announced it was no longer playing the song in response to listener feedback. Some took issue over lyrics where one singer is trying to persuade the other to stay inside, with exchanges that include, “What’s in this drink?” and “Baby, don’t hold out.”

Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson says the company, which runs two 24-hour Christmas stations in Vancouver and Ottawa, chose not to include the Christmas tune on its playlists this year.

“The song wasn’t scheduled for airplay on any Bell Media Radio stations and there are no plans to play it in the future,” he wrote in an emailed statement.

Rogers Media also runs a number of all-Christmas music stations, including 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto and 98.5 CIOC-FM in Victoria. Spokeswoman Caitlin Decarie says the broadcaster also removed the song this year, but declined outline how it reached the decision.

“There are so many wonderful songs that celebrate the holiday season,” she said.

A representative for CBC Radio was unable to answer whether its stations include the Christmas song in its current rotation.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has been considered a holiday classic ever since it won the Academy Award for best original song in the film “Neptune’s Daughter.”

It’s since been covered countless times by singers Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Idina Menzel & Michael Buble, as well as Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart.

Concern over the song has existed for years, leading to many reinterpretations of the lyrics.

Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt flipped the gender roles in a performance for the pop singer’s 2013 holiday special with the Muppets.

And two years ago, Minnesota couple Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski rewrote the lyrics to include lines about consent, such as a response to the woman’s line “I ought to say no, no, no” with the man saying: “You reserve the right to say no.”

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David Friend, The Canadian Press

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