John Legend Defends His Feminist ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ Remake

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 03: John Legend performs during the 2012 Country Christmas concert on November 3, 2012 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The special airs Thursday, December 20 from 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
Rick Diamond/Getty

Singer John Legend is still reeling from the backlash to his PCying of the Christmas classic, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, but he defended his version of the song saying it was the right tone for our #MeToo era.

Legend jumped to defend himself in an interview with the Guardian noting that he was a bit surprised over the backlash to a re-make he thought was just going to be received as “fun” and “silly.”

The paper noted many leftists had attacked the original 1944 Frank Loesser song calling it “rapey” and sexist.

Legend told the interviewer he was aware of the controversy over the original song and decided to re-write it for a new age. Legend said he thought the song would be “fun, and it would be newsworthy.” He ruefully added, “And – yeah – it was both.”

Instead, Legend’s song garnered condemnation from a list of people including Dean Martin’s daughter, Deana, actor Dennis Quaid, Star Trek star William Shatner, and British talk show host Piers Morgan. The row over the song seems to have caught Legend by surprise.

“The song was supposed to be silly!” Legend exclaimed. “It wasn’t supposed to be preachy at all. I never disparaged the old version. And, by the way, the original writer, or his family, gets paid for my version, too.”

But Legend was defiant. He still sees nothing wrong with his version of the song. Legend told the paper:

It’s interesting this whole backlash to the #MeToo movement. People thinking we’ve gone too far speaking up for a woman’s right to not get raped or sexually harassed when some would argue we’ve not gone far enough when we have an admitted sexual assailant in the highest office in the land. People think that because some people have lost their jobs, or have been expelled from Hollywood, like Weinstein, that we’ve gone too far. I don’t agree. But people wanted the Baby, It’s Cold Outside war to be a proxy war for all that.

That is quite a mischaracterization of the argument against both the song and the #Metoo movement, though. No one who feels the #MeToo movement has gone too far or who supports the song opposes “a woman’s right to not get raped or sexually harassed.”

Is Legend really saying someone who enjoys a song from 1944 as written supports rape?

What they oppose is the wanton destruction of a classic, traditional song to satisfy PCism. And they also oppose the demonization of all men because of the criminal actions of a few.

The song has also been unfairly maligned. Critics point to the line “what’s in this drink” as evidence that the song is advocating drugging a woman’s drink to rape her.

However, the fact is, in the 1940s, the saying “what’s in this drink?” was not evidence of drugged drink, but a movie joke used when someone was making a decision that might be a deviation from the norm. The line was always used as a joke because the subtext is that there is nothing at all in the drink even as the joke is used to excuse the person making the decision (as if the drink is making them do it, which is clearly not the case). So, the fictional woman in the song is not being given a date rape drug in her drink. Indeed, her decision to stay with the man is her own decision – whether she may regret it later or not.

Criticism of the line is just ignorance of history.

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