Early this year, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC)decided to ban the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing"
because of the use of a homophobic slur in the song's lyrics. In a somewhat surprising move, the Council has reversed the decision, which means Canadian broadcasters can go back to playing the song.
The song was initially pulled after one listener complained about the use of the word "faggot" in the song. Immediately after the complaint, "Money for Nothing" was deemed a breach of the Human Rights Clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics.
As you'd expect, people on both sides of the border were a little taken aback by the whole thing. The song was, after all, a classic and over 25 years old, to boot. To top it off, the word is used in the song as satire, not in a malicious way.
In a press release, the CBSC reveals that the decision was reversed after the National Panel was "alerted to a considerable additional information relating to the song's context, which the Panel find to be of great value." That additional information wasn't just the fact that the word was used as satire, but also that there were -- and have been for quite some time -- alternate versions of the song that don't include the offending word.
But the song can be played in either form, as, the Panel decided, "the composer's language appears not to have had an iota of malevolent or insulting intention." So broadcasters will once again have a choice of which version of the song to play.
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Still, they make it clear that this is probably a one-time thing, "The Atlantic Regional Panel was correct in its view of the inappropriateness of the word 'faggot' for broadcast on Canadian airwaves.... It is not abandoning that position or the CSBC's sensitivity for their concern."