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Fairytale of New York: The Pogues call Laurence Fox a ‘herrenvolk s***e’ after actor criticises BBC censorship

BBC Radio 1 announced their decision to air a censored version of the festive hit

Annabel Nugent
Friday 20 November 2020 12:25 GMT
Kirsty MacColl changes controversial Fairytale of New York lyric while performing song in 1992

The Pogues have called Laurence Fox a “little herrenvolk s***e” amid the controversy surrounding the censorship of their festive track.

The band’s comments come after Fox criticised BBC Radio 1’s decision to broadcast a censored version of “Fairytale of New York” that will omit the word “f****t” from its lyrics.

Reacting to the news, Fox tweeted: “Here we go again. The cultural commissars at the @bbc are telling you what is and isn’t appropriate for your ignorant little ears.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we sent the (proper) version to the top of the charts? #DefundTheBBC,” the Lewis star added.

The Pogues have since retweeted Fox’s post, responding to the actor: “F*** off you little herrenvolk s***e.” The term “herrenvolk” was used in Nazi Germany to refer to the so-called “master race”.

Fox has been continually embroiled in controversies throughout the year. In September, the actor announced he was launching the Reclaim political party to fight the so-called “culture wars”. The group was described by one Westminster source as “basically a Ukip for culture”.

The star also came under fire in January, when he made headlines for disputing claims that the media’s treatment of Meghan Markle was racially motivated during an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.

His controversial comments sparked a backlash on social media, prompting Fox to tweet that his Twitter feed was “like Christmas come early”.

"Speak truth to nonsense,” he added.

The Independent has reached out to Fox’s representatives for comment.

The band’s festive track has been at the centre of debate for many years due to Kirsty MacColl’s verse, which includes the line: “You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy f****t.”

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On Thursday (19 November), it was announced that BBC Radio 1 will this year air a censored version in which the homophobic slur “f****t” is removed from the song, and replaced with the lyric: “You’re cheap and you’re haggard”. The word “slut”, sung by Shane MacGowan, will also be removed.

Addressing the BBC’s decision, The Pogues retweeted a post by journalist Harrison Brock stating: “This is all I’m gonna say on it for the whole year: the word itself being in ‘Fairytale of New York’ doesn’t bother or offend me. 

“But straight people being so angry & outraged at its removal and literally fighting and arguing for the right to sing it bothers me deeply.”

The Irish-punk band appear to agree with Brock, having shared his post accompanied by the caption: “This.”

Last year, the debate around the song was reignited again, after the uncensored version was performed in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.

MacGowan previously defended the song in 2019, telling Ireland’s Late Late Show: “I’ve been told it’s insulting to gays. I don’t understand how that works. Nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second’s thought.”

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