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Shane MacGowan spoke out after backlash over use of homophobic slur in Fairytale of New York

Dominic Smithers

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Shane MacGowan spoke out after backlash over use of homophobic slur in Fairytale of New York

Christmas is just around the corner, which means one thing: rehashing the annual debate over Fairytale of New York.

Yep, it wouldn't really be right if people didn't argue about whether or not people should be offended by the highly offensive word in the song, would it?

For those of you who aren't that familiar with the festive hit, it basically centres around a couple who've fallen out of love and use the song to vent at one another.

And in one of the line, Kirsty MacColl lets rip at Pogues singer Shane MacGowan, saying: "You scumbag, you maggot

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You cheap lousy f****t."

Fairytale of New York is divisive Christmas hit. Credit: Pogue Mahone Records
Fairytale of New York is divisive Christmas hit. Credit: Pogue Mahone Records

While some would argue otherwise, f****t is an incredibly offensive homophobic slur, and in recent years, the song has been censored or the lyrics changed whenever played.

Previously, a radio DJ asked people to stop listening to the song because he believed it was simply too offensive.

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And last week, BBC Radio 2 announced that it would be playing the censored version during the Christmas period.

The station told HuffPostUK: "On Radio 2 we are reflecting what we are hearing back from many of our listeners who love the song, but find some of the lyrics jarring in 2022, and playing an alternative version provided by the record company."

Speaking previously on the subject, McGowan explained that he never meant it as a homophobic slur.

He said that it was simply meant to show what kind of character the woman saying it was.

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"I've been told it's insulting to gays; I don't understand how that works," he said.

"Nobody in the band thinks that's worth a second's thought.

"The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character.

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"She is not supposed to be a nice person or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate.

"Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend.

"She is just supposed to be an authentic character.

"Not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively."

Featured Image Credit: Pogue Mahone Records

Topics: Music, Christmas

Dominic Smithers
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