Alexa, don’t you know a Christmas classic when you hear one? Amazon device refuses to play Pogues’ Fairytale of New York because of its ‘offensive’ lyrics
- Owners must turn off the ‘profanity filter’ for Fairytale Of New York to be played
- Comes after song was embroiled in censorship row over words ‘f****t’ and ‘sl*t’
- Radio 1 decided to edit words from track over concerns they could cause offence
Amazon’s Alexa owners say the voice-activated device refuses to play The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York due to its ‘explicit lyrics’.
Britons asking their Echo and Dot devices to play the 1987 Christmas song must first turn off the ‘profanity filter’ or the tune cannot be played.
One user said Alexa’s refusal to play the tune was made ‘overnight’.
Fairytale Of New York has been embroiled in a BBC censorship row over the words ‘f****t’ and ‘sl*t’ in the song – sung by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl.
Amazon’s Alexa owners say the voice-activated device refuses to play The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York due to its ‘explicit lyrics’. Pictured: Singers Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan
One Alexa owner told The Sun: ‘Alexa was playing it fine one minute, then overnight decided it was offensive. I can play it by turning off the explicit lyrics filter I have for my kids.’
Following a row last month, BBC Radio 1 decided to edit the words ‘f****t’ and ‘sl*t’ from the track over concerns its listeners would be offended by ‘derogatory terms for gender and sexuality’.
In the updated version, the word ‘f****t’ is changed to ‘haggard’ and ‘sl*t’ is muted.
But Radio 2 decided that it will continue to play Fairytale of New York uncensored, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.
Insiders at Radio 1 told MailOnline the move was a response to concerns hearing the words ‘sl*t’ and ‘f****t’ on BBC Radio 1 would not ‘meet the expectations’ of its listeners.
Britons asking their Echo and Dot devices (one pictured) to play the 1987 Christmas song must first turn off the ‘profanity filter’ or the tune cannot be played
Another insider told The Sun: ‘The feeling is that Radio 1’s listeners are younger and may not be as familiar with this song — so it has been decided that the lyrics should be edited. This Christmas only the new version will be broadcast on Radio 1.’
Shane Macgowan has defended the use of language in the song, saying in 2017: ‘The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character.
‘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.’
The broadcaster’s unedited use of Fairytale of New York has caused controversy in recent years, with a performance of the track in last year’s Gavin and Stacey Christmas special receiving 866 complaints.
The one-off episode was watched by 11.6million viewers when it aired, but some were upset when the slur ‘f****t’ was not omitted from Nessa and Bryn’s rendition.
However, the BBC defended the use of the expletive at the time, claiming when The Pogues wrote the song in 1987 the word was not linked to homosexuality.
Fairytale of New York sold close to 1.5 million copies and is officially the UK’s most played Christmas song.
The BBC decided to edit the words ‘f****t’ and ‘sl*t’ from the track – released by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl in 1987 – in an apparent bid to avoid causing offence over the festive period
In the updated version, the word ‘f****t’ is changed to ‘haggard’ and ‘sl*t’ is muted
The famous Fairytale of New York turn reportedly dates back to a bet that the singers could not create a Christmas tune that was not ‘slushy’, according to music magazine NME.
The song’s story begins with an Irish immigrant being tossed into a ‘drunk tank’ to sleep off a Christmas Eve binge.
While sleeping off the booze he hears an old man sing an old Irish ballad called The Rare Old Mountain Dew.
The song has caused some controversey in recent years over the inclusion of a lyric considered by many to be a homophobic slur.
The BBC used an old recording of British singer MacColl to edit the line ‘you cheap lousy f****t’ to ‘you’re cheap and you’re haggard’
This year Radio 1 will broadcast an alternative version of the song in the run up to Christmas to avoid offending younger audiences who are ‘particularly sensitive’ to the original’s ‘stark’ language.
But despite being the nation’s favourite Christmas driving song, we still haven’t quite learnt all the words, with Fairytale of New York lyrics being googled 22,000 times a month on average.
But it seems recent Christmas songs are not nearly as popular as the old classics that dominated the top 10 in the driving survey, with Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande the least popular choice.