British public broadcaster BBC’s Radio 1 has cut out the word “faggot” from an old Christmas hit in a move the mother of the song’s late performer branded “ridiculous.” In “Fairytale of New York,” released 20 years ago by Irish band the Pogues and singer Kirsty MacColl, she sings “You scumbag, you maggot/You cheap lousy faggot” as her character in the song argues with one sung by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.
MacColl died in 2000 when she was killed by a speedboat off the coast of Mexico.
The song is a perennial favorite in Britain around Christmas time, and is once again battling for the lucrative number one spot in the charts this year. It has also topped several Best Christmas Song polls.
“Radio 1 are playing an edited version of the Fairytale of New York that does not include the world ‘faggot’ as this is a word that members of our audience would find offensive,” the BBC said in a statement.
A spokeswoman said the word was “faded down” on air, rather than bleeped out.
But MacColl’s mother Jean, speaking on the BBC Radio 5 Live, called the ban “too ridiculous.”
“These are a couple of characters,” she said, referring to the characters in the song.
“Today we have a lot of a gratuitous vulgarity and … whatever from people all over which I think is quite unnecessary. These are characters and they speak like that.”
A spokeswoman for the band said they would be amused to hear about Radio 1’s decision.
“This song now goes with Christmas like the Queen’s speech and mince pies, and all of a sudden it’s offensive,” she said.
“It strikes me as very odd and I’m sure the band will be very amused.”