John Legend is furious about the backlash over his altered version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside as he believes it’s part of an attempt to discredit the #MeToo movement.
The Ordinary People hitmaker teamed up with Kelly Clarkson for the revamp of Frank Loesser’s iconic holiday track – about a guy trying to convince his date to spend the night with him – but changed the lyrics to remove hints of coercion that have caused controversy in recent years.
John was denounced by Dean Martin’s daughter and Sharon Osbourne for changing the lyrics to the classic, and he doesn’t understand the reaction as his version was simply a bit of festive fun.
“The song was supposed to be silly!” John told The Guardian. “It wasn’t supposed to be preachy at all. I never disparaged the old version. And, by the way, the original writer, or his family, gets paid for my version, too.”
The socially conscious singer blames the media storm over his new song on those looking to discredit #MeToo activists’ attempts to end sexual harassment in the wake of the scandal surrounding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and accusations against America’s President Donald Trump.
“It’s interesting,” he added. “This whole backlash to the #MeToo movement. People thinking we’ve gone too far speaking up for a woman’s right to not get raped or sexually harassed, when some would argue we’ve not gone far enough, when we have an admitted sexual assailant in the highest office in the land.
“People think that because some people have lost their jobs, or have been expelled from Hollywood, like Weinstein, that we’ve gone too far. I don’t agree. But people wanted the Baby It’s Cold Outside war to be a proxy war for all that.”
In the original version, the woman asks the man, “What’s in this drink?”, prompting some to suggest he may have added something to her cocktail, but the lyric is absent from the reboot and John instead sings it’s his date’s “choice”.