Dire Straits hit censored for gay slur
OTTAWA – It may be classic rock but the song Money for Nothing by Dire Straits will either have to be edited or not played in its original form after a decision by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.
After a complaint from a listener to OZ-FM in Newfoundland who heard the song at 9:15 at night, the CBSC ruled that Money for Nothing, a radio staple since 1985, violates the code of ethics on several fronts due to the use of the word “faggot.”
The songs second verse contains the offensive word three times.
“The little faggot with the earring and the makeup”
“Yeah, buddy, that’s his own hair”
“That little faggot’s got his own jet airplane”
“That little faggot, he’s a millionaire”
The decision here in Canada comes as Americans are embroiled in a debate over censoring the literary classic Huckleberry Finn.
The book by Mark Twain was a scathing examination of racism when it appeared in 1885 and makes frequent use of then common words such as “n—–” and “Injun” to refer to a Native American character. A publisher has proposed releasing a new version of the work replacing the words with “slave” and “Indian.”
The CBSC, which has essentially banned the full-length version of Money for Nothing, is a self-governing regulatory body for Canada’s private broadcasters. Decisions on content by the council are binding on members.
One classic rock station contacted by QMI Agency said that most likely they will stop playing the song now.
There is a shorter version of the song with the offensive words removed but classic rock buffs contacted by QMI Agency said changing the lyrics killed the song.
None of the radio personnel contacted would comment on the record for fear of the impact it could have if they appeared before the council.
Money for Nothing is not the first song the CBSC has censored. The decision on Money for Nothing references an earlier decision on the song Boyz in the Hood by Dynamite Hack, which was deemed to have lyrics which were too violent towards women.
One broadcast executive who asked not to be named said the council’s decisions are all over the map, pointing out that similar words have been ruled acceptable in other cases.
Another executive said that while the CBSC comes down hard on what is considered offensive language in songs, similar language can be used in television.
A review of rulings posted on the CBSC website shows that several complaints on language, such as blatant swearing or the use of the name Jesus Christ as an expletive, have been ruled acceptable.
The CBSC rules on both radio and television broadcast complaints.