In a rather classless gesture, British citizens purchased "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead," by Judy Garland digitally in the efforts to get the song to appear on BBC's chart show on Sunday evening.
What makes the gesture classless is that it was in reference towards British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died earlier this week. While I am not British nor do I totally understand the political climate surrounding her time in office or how it is received now, I never find death funny or think it should be ridiculed. The issue has been all over British television and media this week, since it became apparent that the song would chart high enough to be included.
The BBC released a statement, saying that, “The BBC finds this campaign distasteful but does not believe the record should be banned. On Sunday, the Radio 1 Chart Show will contain a news item explaining why the song is in the charts during which a short clip will be played as it has been in some of our news programmes.”
BBC director general Tony Hall has also discussed the controversy surrounding the song.
“I understand the concerns about this campaign. I personally believe it is distasteful and inappropriate. However, I do believe it would be wrong to ban the song outright as free speech is an important principle and a ban would only give it more publicity. I have spoken at some length with the Director of Radio, Graham Ellis, and Radio 1 Controller, Ben Cooper. We have agreed that we won't be playing the song in full, rather treating it as a news story and playing a short extract to put it in context," he said.
Hall has had a rough go of it at the BBC, since replacing George Entwistle after he left the job after 54 days due to the Jimmy Savile sex scandal and the Newsnight scandal.
To learn more about how the chart controversy has gone down, read this article from The Guardian. A news clip from Channel 4 discussing it can be seen here, as well.