The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) rebuffed a statement this week by Vince Vaughn in which the actor defended controversial dialogue in the upcoming film, “The Dilemma,” and criticized Universal Pictures for not making good on its promise to pull the film’s trailer from theaters.
In remarks made public on Thursday, Vaughn said that he joins in the outrage over “bullying and persecution of people for their differences,” but insisted, “comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.”
The controversy stems from a theatrical trailer for the upcoming Ron Howard comedy, which stars Vaughn and Kevin James (“King of Queens”).
In the trailer, Vaughn is seen delivering a presentation about electric cars in a board room setting, where he delivers the line, “Electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay.”
After both GLAAD and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper complained that such words are insensitive and harmful, Universal Pictures said it would remove the phrase “Electric cars are gay” from the trailer.
But Vaughn now says he wishes the language had been left in, although GLAAD said this week that the original trailer is still running in theaters.
“Vince is right. Comedy does bring us together, unless one of us is the punchline. Then it pushes us apart,” GLAAD said it a statement on Friday.
“This isn’t about intent,” GLAAD said. “It’s about the fact that no matter what the intent, when ‘gay’ is used as a pejorative, it sends a message, particularly to youth, that gay taunts are acceptable. And it sends a message to LGBT youth that they are people who should be made fun of.”
Amid growing media attention to the issue of anti-gay bullying and the role it played in several recent teen suicides, GLAAD said “the use of the word ‘gay’ in this trailer as a slur is unnecessary and does nothing more than send a message of intolerance about our community to viewers.”
GLAAD is calling on Universal Pictures to remove the slur from both the film and the trailer.
“The Dilemma” is due in theaters in January.