The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan defends controversial “F****t” lyric in ‘Fairytale of New York’ lyrics

"There is no political correctness to it."

Shane MacGowan has defended The Pogues‘ use of the word “f****t” in Fairytale of New York after the lyrics to the festive track received renewed scrutiny.

The lyrics of the song have sparked widespread discussion in recent years, with one BBC DJ banning the song from his show earlier this month after dismissing it as “downmarket chav bilge.”

In a new interview with Ryan Tubridy on Ireland’s The Late Late Show, MacGowan defended the song’s lyrics, before going on to perform it with the controversial word included.


“There is no political correctness to it,” MacGowan told Tubridy.

“I’ve been told it’s insulting to gays; I don’t understand how that works.”

When Tubridy then explained why the world could be offensive, MacGowan replied: “Nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second’s thought.”

It comes after MacGowan previously defended the song in a comprehensive statement, and explained that the lyrics suited the female character in the song’s back-and-forth section.

“The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character,” said MacGowan.


“She is not supposed to be a nice person or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate.”

He continued: “Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend! She is just supposed to be an authentic character.

“Not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively.”

Meanwhile, Blondie’s Debbie Harry recently covered the seminal track alongside Jesse Malin in New York.