BBC Radio One has done a U-turn over its decision to bleep the word "faggot" out of The Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl’s "Fairytale Of New York" after the network’s own online poll showed that 95 percent of people felt it was a ridiculous censorship.
The nation’s No.1 station bleeped the word because, according to a Radio One spokesman, it’d be likely to offend homosexuals.
Although the vast majority of public opinion felt the BBC had been a little too PC, gay rights activist Peter Tatchell told Guardian readers that it had capitulated to mass pressure rather than stuck with a rational policy decision.
"Let’s also remember that in "Fairytale Of New York" the word "faggot" is being sung as an insult, alongside the words scumbag and maggot. In this abusive context, it’s difficult to feel comfortable about its usage," he explained.
The song, which is threatening to pip "X Factor" winner Leon Jackson to the Christmas No. 1 slot, tells the story of two lovers who trade insults on Christmas Eve. It has a verse ending with the line: "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse I pray God it’s our last."
The decision to cut the lyric had been described as "ridiculous" by one of the station’s own DJs, Chris Moyles, who is leading a campaign to make the reissue of the 1987 song the Christmas No.1.
BBC Radio 2 continued to play the full, original, unedited version of the track, while BBC Radio Five listeners bombarded the phone-in shows with calls for Radio One to reconsider.
One caller said his understanding of the word "faggot" was that it was a meatball made of chopped liver and covered in rich gravy.
The Pogues put out a statement saying the act was amused that a record that’s been a Christmas favourite for years should "suddenly become offensive."
The track was voted favourite Christmas song in a recent poll by music TV channel VH1.