'Fairytale of New York': There are fresh calls to remove curse words from the Christmas classic

7 December 2018, 11:00 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 15:26

Shane and Kirsty
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Do you agree?

The word ‘f****t’ from The Pogues’ classic Christmas song ‘Fairytale of New York’ should be removed because it’s a “homophobic slur”, a student journalist has argued.

A student journalist has argued that the word 'f****t' should be removed as it is a "homophobic slur".

The Story of... 'Fairytale of New York'

Thomas Haynes, writing for The Tab, said the lyric in the track was “as bad as using the N-word”.

The verse that contains the word goes: “You’re a bum / You’re a punk / You’re an old slut on junk / Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed / You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy f****t / Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it’s our last.”

Haynes wrote: “For some, “f****t” is just another weapon turned against homophobes, a way to way to snigger at ‘the straights’ being bone-headed and ignorant.

"But for others it will always evoke very specific memories of being bullied either online or in real life, or having to listen to their mates band it about as an insult.”

The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York (Official Video)

The student called on YouTube to remove the video altogether, because none of The Pogues bandmembers nor the late Kirsty McColl, are gay.

While there has been some support online, there has also been a backlash to the article. Some Facebook users highlighted the fact that Shane MacGowan and McColl were referring to an old Irish slang word, which means a lazy person, when they wrote the song.

Aisling Daly commented: “‘Fairytale of New York’ was written by an Irishman. ‘F****t’ is an old Irish slang word for a lazy person or a waster, and that’s the meaning that Shane McGowan intended when he wrote the song. Nothing to do with homophobia.”

Chris Smith wrote: “Sorry as a gay man, it doesn’t offend me. Never has never will. Some people just need to get over themselves.

This isn't the first time there have been calls to remove the line, along with the words 'slut' and 'arse'. In December 2007, BBC Radio 1 banned the words "f****t" and "slut" from the song to "avoid offence".

MacColl's mother, Jean, called the ban "too ridiculous", while The Pogues said they found it "amusing". Later that evening, they backed down and said that after a day of criticism from listeners, they had reversed the decision.

Earlier this month, a US radio station banned Christmas classic 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' in light of the #MeToo movement.