Composer's daughter defends Baby, It’s Cold Outside: 'My father would be furious'
"It’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties," says Susan Loesser of the beloved festive classic now accused of being predatory toward women.
The festive classic tune Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been under fire recently in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
The duet performed over the years by scores of artists, including Dean Martin, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Lady Gaga, has even been pulled from some radio stations in the US and Canada on grounds the lyrics are predatory toward women.
Now the daughter of Frank Loesser, who wrote the song in 1944, is fighting back. “I think my father would be furious at that,” said Susan Loesser, reacting to stations banning the song.
“Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody,” the 74-year-old told NBC News. "Way before #MeToo, I would hear from time to time, people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time,” she said.
“People used to say ‘What’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, ‘This drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?’ Back then, it didn’t mean you drugged me… Absolutely, I get it. But I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time. It was written in 1944.”
Baby, It's Cold Outside was recorded for the Esther Williams film Neptune’s Daughter, and won Best Original Song in 1950. The lyrics take on a flirty back-and-forth banter where a man attempts to persuade his date not to journey home in bad weather, and to stay for a drink instead.
Critics say while the song may have not sounded offensive when it was first released, it is an ode to sexual assault and no longer belongs on the airwaves today.
The song has been reinstated in some Denver and San Francisco radio stations after polling listeners. The sentiment? The lyrics reflect a different era and sensibility from today’s but listeners still enjoy the “tradition and history of the song, and want to hear it as part of their holiday season”, according to Entertainment Weekly.