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The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan defends homophobic slur in Fairytale of New York

The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan defends homophobic slur in Fairytale of New York

Fairytale of New York is problematic, but does that make it a problem? | Photo: YouTube

The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan has defended the homophobic slur in Fairytale of New York.

The classic Christmas song features a line that causes controversy every holiday season.

In the song, the late Kirsty McCall sings ‘you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot’.

Should Fairytale of New York be censored? 

Irish radio hosts Eoghan McDermott and Stephen Byrne called for the song to be censored during airplay.

The RTE 2FM DJs said it was a ‘slur’. McDermott, who is straight, said it was an ‘insult’ that shouldn’t be aired. Byrne, who is gay said how he felt when it plays in a club.

‘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.’

MacGowan has responded to the criticism with a statement.

‘The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character,’ he wrote.

‘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 Pogues’ frontman says he is ‘fine’ with the homophobic slur being censored 

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.’

However, he said he has no issue with it being censored during airplay.

‘If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word but I don’t want to get into an argument,’ he concluded.

RTÉ has said the song will continue to be played uncensored.

A reluctant defense of the word ‘faggot’ in Fairytale of New York