A famous a cappella group from Princeton University in the US is to cut the song Kiss The Girl from the Disney movie The Little Mermaid from its repertoire after complaints of misogyny.
The Tigertones, which has been running since the 1940s, confirmed that its scrapped the song from all future performances.
The song from the 1989 animation, penned by the legendary Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, finds Sebastian, the talking crab, suggest that smitten Prince Eric just go ahead and kiss the mermaid Ariel, despite not having asked for her consent.
In an editorial by sophomore student Noa Wollstein in the Daily Princetonian magazine, published on November 26 and entitled ‘Dear Tigertones, please stop singing Kiss The Girl’, the song stood accused of being ‘misogynistic and dismissive of consent’.
“The song launches a heteronormative attack on women’s right to oppose the romantic and sexual liberties taken by men, further inundating the listener with themes of toxic masculinity,” wrote Wollstein.
“In trying to motivate Eric to kiss Ariel, the crab, Sebastian, makes use of lines such as, ‘Looks like the boy’s too shy,’ ‘Don’t be scared,’ and ‘It’s such a shame, too bad/You’re gonna miss the girl.’”
In agreement, the group’s president Wesley Brown said it would drop the song in a responding editorial.
“A central element of our ‘Kiss the Girl’ performance has involved our soloist selecting a female and male duo from the audience one by one, dancing with both of them on stage before encouraging them to dance with one another, and then requesting that they ‘do as the song says’ before the group promptly advocates for a peck on the cheek,” wrote Brown.
“Many of the recent criticisms of this performance reflect on internal conversations our group has been having for some time. In the last few years, we have taken intentional steps towards ensuring that audience participation is more voluntary and consensual.
“These steps have clearly not succeeded in guaranteeing total comfort for both participants or in obtaining continual consent. Performances of this song have made participants uncomfortable and offended audience members, an outcome which is antithetical to our group’s mission and one that we deeply regret.
“Because of these concerns, we are removing ‘Kiss the Girl’ from our active repertoire until we can arrive at a way to perform it that is comfortable and enjoyable for every member of our audience. We sincerely apologize to any of our past participants and audience members for whom our performance of this song was uncomfortable or offensive.”
It follows news that a radio station in Cleveland has pulled festive ballad Baby It’s Cold Outside from broadcast for similar reasons.