The close friends of the late Lou Reed have completely dismissed claims that the lyrics in hit song ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ are transphobic.
“I don’t know if Lou would be cracking up about this or crying because it’s just too stupid,” Reed’s former producer Hal Willner told the Guardian. “The song was a love song to all the people he knew and to New York City by a man who supported the community and the city his whole life.”
The complete denial comes after The Guelph Central Student Association, a campus group at Ontario’s University of Guelph, apologised for including the 1972 hit in a recent playlist for an official event.
“We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement,” the statement read on a Facebook group which has already been removed.
The lyrics in question are born out of Reed’s friendship with Andy Warhol and friends of Warhol’s Factory which included iconic transgender names such as Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling, Reed sings:
“Holly came from Miami, FLA,
Hitchhiked her way across the USA,
Plucked her eyebrows on the way,
Shaved her legs and then he was a she,
She says, ‘Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side.’”
The full statement from the student board read: “It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side).
“The playlist was compiled by one of the Executives with the intent of feeling like a road trip from the 70s and 80s.
“The song was included solely on those terms and made in ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.
“We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologise for this error in judgement,” they said.
“While we acknowledge that the song was written with certain purpose and intention, we would also emphasise that media is not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,” the group concluded.