Rory Cowan Weighs In On 'Fairytale Of New York' Controversy

Mrs Brown's Boys star Rory Cowan told RTÉ staff to 'cop on' in relation to the controversy surrounding the word 'faggot' in the Christmas song 'Fairytale of New York'.

Rory Cowan, who weighed in on the Fairytale of New York controversy
Image Source: Actor Rory Cowan

There has been much debate lately about the use of the word ‘faggot’ in the hit Christmas song Fairytale of New York, and whether or not it’s offensive to the LGBT+ community.

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Rory Cowan has weighed in, saying that fighting over such issues distracts from the more serious issues that the LGBT+ community face around the world.

Responding to RTÉ broadcaster Eoghan McDermott, who called for Fairytale of New York to be censored after asking two gay staff members how it made them feel, Cowan wrote on Twitter:

“Those two gay members of his staff need to cop on. Nonsense issues distract from real ones.

“Gays are being persecuted and killed around the world. We need to fight that. We came through our own battles for gay rights.”

Cowan added, “and that was a terrific song. Shane is a brilliant lyricist. His lyrics are way up there with the best. This is just a cosmetic exercise of people wanting to be offended.

“In the context of the song the word doesn’t refer to gay people. It refers to a lazy no good man who took the woman’s dreams away and turned her into a junkie. It’s a brilliantly written song.”

Eoghan McDermott made the argument that the word is used against gay people in a negative way, saying, “This debate rolls around again. I asked the two gay members of my team how they feel since faggot is their N-word. If people want to slur the gay community, this is their most powerful weapon. One favours censoring, the other outright not playing it. Neither likes it. Simples.”

“The fact this song is a classic isn’t a strong enough defence to not at least censor it. We censor shit, fuck, ass, weed and loads of other comparatively benign words in songs. It’s not a big ask,” he added.

The broadcaster addressed the issue again earlier today, posting a statement on Twitter that says, “Nobody on our team asked anyone at RTÉ for the song to be banned or censored. Lots of clickbait headlines suggesting such. We had a chat in the office and I tweeted about it.”

“My point was we beep out relatively harmless swear words all the time on radio to appease literally everyone. Ass, shit, fuck, etc – and that is widely expected.

“So the idea of beeping one word on daytime radio didn’t seem radical – given this word packs a lot of punch for many people and is used as a powerful slur outside the song.”

The Pogues singer Shane McGowan has also had his say on the debate around Fairytale of New York. McGowan explains in a statement issued to The Tonight Show, “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.

“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.”

The Pogues and Kirsty McColl performing Fairytale Of New York live on stage

McGowan also explained that he is not against Fairytale of New York being censored for radio, saying, “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.”

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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