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‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ Composer’s Daughter Defends Song Amid Controversy

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The daughter of Broadway composer Frank Loesser, who wrote the polarizing holiday classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is saying that her father would be “furious” at the song being banned at multiple radio stations this holiday season.

In recent years, the 1944 holiday song has been critiqued for its overtones (among other questionable lines, “say, what’s in this drink” seems to suggest non-consensual overtures); in response, there have been modern remixes written that emphasize consent and most recently, radio stations in Cleveland, Colorado, California, and Toronto have banned the song after listener complaints.

In an interview with NBC News, Susan Loesser, the 74-year-old daughter of the famed composer, defended the song, calling for people to think about it in context of the time.

“I think my father would be furious at that,” Loesser said. “People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, ‘this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?’ Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me.”

She continued, recognizing why people take issue with the lyrics.

“Absolutely I get it. But I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time. It was written in 1944,” Loesser said.

Loesser went on to address how the song’s lyrics could be interpreted in the #MeToo era.

“Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody,” she said. “Way before #Me Too, I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time.”

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com