CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — A popular song by Tom Jones that has been a regular feature at Welsh sporting events will not be performed at the Six Nations tournament amid allegations of sexism, bullying and racism at the Welsh Rugby Union.
“Delilah,” which was first released in 1968, contains lyrics that are “problematic and upsetting to some supporters,” read a statement issued Wednesday on behalf of the WRU.
The song is about a jealous lover seeing a woman, Delilah, with another man. One line reads: “I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door; she stood there laughing, I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.”
It will not be sung by a male-voice choir before Wales’ match against Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday or at future games. Wales also plays at home against England in Round 3 of the tournament.
“Delilah will not feature on the playlist for choirs for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium,” read the statement from the venue. “The WRU removed the song from its halftime entertainment and music playlist during international matches in 2015.
“Guest choirs have also more recently been requested not to feature the song during their pre-match performances and throughout games. The WRU condemns domestic violence of any kind.”
WRU chief executive Steve Phillips quit Sunday amid claims of a toxic culture at the organization. It came after a BBC documentary contained allegations of misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia at the governing body.
British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported the WRU moved quickly after a news channel showed footage of a choir rehearsing “Delilah” before its appearance at the Wales-England match on Feb. 25.
In 2020, England’s Rugby Football Union reviewed the context of England’s rugby anthem — “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” — amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
The song is believed to have its roots in American slavery, with its credited author being Wallace Willis — a freed slave from Oklahoma.
The RFU didn’t ban the singing of the song but said it would “proactively” educate fans on the song’s history.
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