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Fairytale of New York: ‘Faggot’ lyric is ‘not intended to offend’

Ella Braidwood December 7, 2018
Shane MacGowan, who has said the "faggot" lyric in "Fairytale of New York" is "not intended to offend"

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Shane MacGowan of The Pogues performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival>> at Hyde Park on July 5, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Shane MacGowan, who co-wrote The Pogues’ Christmas song “Fairytale of New York,” has said the track’s controversial “faggot” lyric is “not intended to offend,” but that he is “fine” with the homophobic slur being bleeped out by radio stations.

MacGowen issued a statement saying that “faggot” insult “fitted with the way” the character in “Fairytale of New York” spoke, following calls from a student and two Irish DJs for the lyric to be censored.

“She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable.”

—Shane MacGowan

“The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character,” he wrote, reports the Independent.

MacGowan: “Faggot” lyric in “Fairytale of New York” is “not intended to offend”

“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.”

He continued: “Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend!

“She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively.”

MacGowan’s response comes after a student wrote an article in The Tab asking for straight people to stop singing the word “faggot” in “Fairytale of New York,” which is sung by Kirsty MacColl.

The video for The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York," which features the anti-gay slur "faggot" in its lyrics
Shane MacGowan said the “faggot” lyric in “Fairytale of New York” is not “intended to offend.”(ThePoguesOfficial/YouTube)

DJs call for “Fairytale of New York” to be censored

Two Irish radio DJs also called for the lyric to be censored by radio stations.

RTE 2FM DJ Eoghan McDermott took to Twitter on December 4 saying he believed the lyric should be censored.

“The fact this song is a classic isn’t a strong enough defense to not at least censor it,” he wrote.

“We censor s**t, f**k, ass, weed and loads of other comparatively benign words in songs. It’s not a big ask.”

Presenter Stephen Byrne, meanwhile, posted on Twitter that he is “hurt” by the use of “faggot” in the track.

“I was in a club the other day and they played that song, I stood in a room as over 200 people screamed a word thats been used to make me feel like an outsider, with such joy and cheer,” he wrote.

RTÉ, however, has confirmed that it will continue to play “Fairytale of New York” without bleeping out the “faggot” lyric on RTE radio stations.

More: faggot, Fairytale of New York, shane macgowan, the pogues

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