The Dire Straits song Money For Nothing has been banned from Canadian airwaves because it is deemed homophobic.
The song, written almost 30 years ago, repeatedly uses the word ‘faggot’.
Now, the Canadian Broadcasts Standards Council has ruled that any radio station wishing to play the song must edit or bleep out the offending word, which appears three times.
The lyrics are: “See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup/Yeah buddy that’s his own hair/That little faggot got his own jet airplane/That little faggot he’s a millionaire.”
One listener complained to St John’s radio station CHOZ-FM that the song was “extremely offensive” to lesbian, gay and bisexual people when it was played last February, the Vancouver Sun reports.
In its ruling the Standards Council said that “even if entirely or marginally acceptable in earlier days, [the word ‘faggot’] no longer so.”
“The societal values at issue a quarter century later have shifted and the broadcast of the song in 2010 must reflect those values, rather than those of 1985,” the council said.
There are later versions of Money For Nothing which replace the word ‘faggot’ with ‘mother’, which the Standards Council said the radio station should have played instead.
Shortly after the song was first released, Mark Knopfler, who co-wrote it with Sting, told Rolling Stone magazine that gay people had complained about it.
He said: “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London – he actually said it was below the belt.
“Apart from the fact that there are stupid gay people as well as stupid other people, it suggests that maybe you can’t let it have so many meanings – you have to be direct.
“In fact, I’m still in two minds as to whether it’s a good idea to write songs that aren’t in the first person, to take on other characters.”