NEW YORK – David Letterman canceled an appearance by folk singer Ani DiFranco after she refused to change the song she wanted to sing on his show last night.
Producers at The Late Show asked DiFranco to choose some other song besides "Subdivision" — a song about racism.
The song's first line is: "White people are so scared of black people, they bulldoze out to the country and put up houses on little loop-d-loop streets . . . "
Producers said they had no objection to the song's subject matter but just wanted something more "up tempo."
"We did not reject the song on the basis of its lyrical content," said Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants. "Rather, we felt the option originally suggested by her representatives was preferable musically."
DiFranco's manager Scot Fisher contends that tempo had nothing to do with the spat.
DiFranco submitted three songs to Late Show producers last March, Fisher said, but favored "Subdivision" over the other two. The show didn't ask her to make the change until late last week, Fisher said.
When she refused, they canceled her appearance. The Holmes Brothers were scheduled to replace her on last night's show.
"I don't tell her what she's going to play, a record company doesn't tell her what she's going to play, and the producer of a TV show isn't going to tell her what to play," Fisher said.