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Daughter of ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Composer Blames Bill Cosby For Date Rape Controversy Around Song’s Lyrics

December 7, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Bill Cosby The Cosby Show

The daughter of the man who composed “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is putting the blame on Bill Cosby for the recent uproar about the song’s lyrics. NBC News spoke with Susan Loesser, the daughter of Broadway legend Frank Loesser who wrote the song, and asked her about the controversy around what some have perceived as a sexual assault-like motif to the song.

“Bill Cosby is ruining it for everybody,” Susan Loesser said. “Ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time” in reference to the song. The chief lyric in question is the point in the duet where the woman, who the male singer is trying to convince to stay at his place for a night of romance, says, “Hey, what’s in this drink?”

Loesser says that her dad “would be furious” about the controversy, adding, “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?” she added. “Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me.”

She noted that she’s particularly aggravated about the backlash because “it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties.”

While the headlines around “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” have been more prominent in the last couple of years, the song was accused of being problematic for years before the allegations against Cosby resurfaced in 2014. A column in 2010 made waves for referring to the song as “date-rapey,” and Urban Dictionary referred to the song as the “Christmas Date Rape Song” as far back as 2002. (The song no longer appears in Urban Dictionary under that title.)

Loesser did say she understands why the song has taken on its current connotation in the post-Weinstein era, noting, “Absolutely I get it. But I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time. It was written in 1944. It was a different time.”

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Bill Cosby, Jeremy Thomas