Bill Cosby ‘Ruined’ ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, Says Songwriter’s Child

During a short span of time, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” went from being a ubiquitous Christmas tune to being one of the most controversial songs around. Susan Loesser, the daughter of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” composer Frank Loesser, says Bill Cosby ruined the track for the world. Here’s a look at the controversy surrounding the song and how it backfired commercially.

Bill Cosby | Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Why ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ is controversial and why Frank Loesser’s daughter says it’s misunderstood

Firstly, a little background. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was a popular holiday song for years. It’s a male-female duet where a woman keeps saying she might leave and a man says she should stay. At one point, the woman says “What’s in this drink?” This line has become very controversial, with some people interpreting it as meaning the woman was drugged.

According to time, Susan revealed how her father would have felt about the controversy surrounding the song. “I think my father would be furious at that,” Loesser told NBC News. “People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, ‘this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?’ Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me.”

Frank Sinatra’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

How Bill Cosby ‘ruined’ the song

Susan blames the controversy on a certain infamous comedian. “Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody,” she said. “Way before #Me Too, I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time.” She added “Absolutely I get it [the controversy]. But I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time. It was written in 1944.”

Dean Martin’s daughter comments on the controversy

Susan isn’t the only one upset by the backlash against the song. According to Billboard, Dean Martin’s daughter, Deana Martin, says her father would have been upset by the backlash. Dean recorded a version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and Deana says her father never would have recorded the track if it was offensive.

Dean Martin’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

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How Lady Gaga changed ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’

Some modern interpreters of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” have attempted to recontextualize or change the song. For example, Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed a version of the song in Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular. During the special, Gordon-Levitt performs the lyrics of the song traditionally sung by a woman and Gaga performs the lyrics of the song traditionally sung by a man. The effect is that the woman in the song is the aggressor. 

How the song performed in 2018

So has the controversy ended the popularity of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside?” Not at all. Billboard reports Martin’s cover of the track reached No. 10 on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales Chart in 2018. Plenty of people are offended by “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” — but others still love it.

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