Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ Censored by BBC this Christmas for ‘Offensive’ Lyrics

Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Christmas mainstay Fairytale of New York will be censored by the BBC this year because it fears sensitive listeners will be offended by some of the lyrics.

The publicly-funded broadcaster’s Radio 1 station — but not Radio 2 — will replace the word “faggot” as sung by the late Kirsty MacColl with the word haggard, while Pogues’ frontman Shane MacGowan’s use of the word “slut” will be muted outright.

Radio 1 fears “young listeners [are] particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality”, according to BBC News report on the song’s censorship.

Radio 6 Music, meanwhile, is shifting the burden of decision onto individual DJs in determining which version of the song to use.

The politically correct move earned the derision of actor and “anti-SJW” lodestar Larence Fox, who commented on social media that the the “cultural commissars at the [BBC] are telling you what is and isn’t appropriate for your ignorant little ears” and suggested that people should try to get the “proper” version of the song to the top of the charts.

The Pogues themselves seemed less than enthused by the call to action, though, responding Fox, also on social media, by saying “Fuck off you little herrenvolk shite” — herrenvolk being a German term synonymous with the National Socialist concept of “master race” in the 20th century.

The Pogues of 2020 are not the Pogues of Fairytale of New York, however, with Shane MacGowan having struggled with many personal issues over the years and Kirsty MacColl having been killed in a Mexican boating accident 20 years ago.

MacGowan has previously defended the use of an anti-gay slur in his song, however, explaining in 2017 that “the word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character.”

The Irish-English singer added that “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.”

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