'Money for Nothing' slur inappropriate, council says
British musician Mark Knopfler performs at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany, during his first show in Germany of his 2008 European tour, on Friday, April 11, 2008. Knopfler was head and co-founder of the band Dire Straits. (AP Photo/Daniel Roland)
Published Wednesday, August 31, 2011 6:18PM EDT
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council says it should be up to individual radio stations to decide whether they want to play unedited versions of Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing."
The standards council said in a decision Wednesday that it believes that a homosexual slur in the 1985 song is inappropriate, but the slur has to be taken in context.
In January, the council's Atlantic Regional Panel imposed a nationwide ban on the song, saying it was unfit for radio play because its lyrics include the word "faggot" three times.
That decision led to an immediate backlash from music fans. A number of radio stations rebelled against the ban by playing an unedited version of the song on repeat for a full hour.
The CRTC asked for a review of the council's decision, so the council asked the public to submit their thoughts through the council's website. On Wednesday, a national panel of the council backtracked somewhat from the Atlantic panel's decision.
In its decision, the council said it reviewed the original decision and said it still believed it was correct in deeming the song inappropriate. But it added that the context of the song and why the word is used in the lyrics must also be taken into consideration.
The majority of the council's panel felt the song used the word satirically and not in a hateful manner.
The council also noted that that panel that banned the song was not aware that alternative versions of the song without the word "faggot" have been available since 1985. It decided it should be up to broadcasters to choose which version to play, based on the sensitivity of their listeners.
But the council stressed that the panel it convened to review the ban stands by its decision.
"The National Panel wishes to make perfectly clear to those persons who have commended the CBSC for its ‘brave' position regarding the disapproval of the hateful and painful term that it is not abandoning that position or the CBSC's sensitivity to their concern," the decision reads.
"It is only saying that there may be circumstances in which even words designating unacceptably negative portrayal may be acceptable because of their contextual usage. The ad hoc National Panel finds this one such occasion."
"Money for Nothing" was one of Dire Straits' biggest hits and spawned, what was for 1985, a groundbreaking music video.
Dire Straits' songwriter and lead singer Mark Knopfler has long defended the song's lyrics and rejected accusations of homophobia.
He has said the song was written not from his own perspective but were actual quotes from a working-class man he met at a New York City appliance store who was unimpressed by millionaire rock stars he saw on MTV.