SASKATOON — A promotion by the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League to get fans involved in a singalong of what has become a controversial Christmas favourite is being called silly and tasteless in some postings to social media.
Every home game of the Saskatoon-based club features a singalong and during halftime at an exhibition match against the Calgary Roughnecks last Saturday the lyrics to the 1944 classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” were projected on a giant screen, with fans urged to belt them out.
Rush players stood along the boards holding signs similar to the front page of a newspaper with the song's title as the headline, while a penguin statue at the arena entrance was adorned with the title and lyrics.
Some comments posted later on the team's Facebook site questioned why the Rush would get involved with renewed scrutiny of what some people have said are the song's inappropriate lyrics in light of the #MeToo movement.
CBC Radio joined at least two other Canadian broadcasters last week in pulling the song out of their rotations this year, although the CBC has reinstated it after feedback from listeners.
Rush owner Bruce Urban says the intent was to poke fun at how overly sensitive society has become.
"You’re simply mocking the people who stood up to say, ‘Hey, this song seems a little creepy, especially given the current political climate,’” read one of the comments on the team's Facebook site.
Another quipped: "Why not put this kind of effort into something that matters? There are a lot of homeless folks that could use energy like this to help them when it's cold outside."
One person said the promotion mocked those who say the song sounds "a little creepy," especially given the current political climate.
"This display wasn't about calling out a dumb piece of news. This was about a professional male athletics team letting it be known that conversations regarding consent are trivial and a joke. Maybe next time, have a little class."
Urban, who was behind the idea, said the intent was to create some levity with what he called a "flirtatious, fun Christmas song."
"For those people who are sensitive, I get it. I’m all for a movement that talks about proper and equal rights for men and women ... but we need to keep in the limits and not get carried away as well," he said.
Early last week, Cleveland radio station WDOK-FM announced it would no longer play the song in response to listener feedback. Some took issue with lyrics where one singer is trying to persuade the other to stay inside, with exchanges that include, "What's in this drink?'' and "Baby, don't hold out.''
In Canada, Bell Media, which runs two 24-hour Christmas stations in Ottawa and Vancouver, said the tune would not be on their play lists this year. Rogers Media and CBC Radio made similar moves.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside'' has been considered a holiday classic ever since it won the Academy Award for best original song in the film "Neptune's Daughter.''
The Rush — reigning champions of the 11-team NLL — begin their regular season on the road against the New England Black Wolves on Dec. 28. They play their season home opener against the San Diego Seals on Jan. 5.
(CTV Saskatoon, The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press