GLAAD Demands “Gay” Joke Be Pulled Entirely from ‘The Dilemma’
On National Coming Out Day, GLAAD is calling on Universal Pictures to remove anti-gay language from Vince Vaughn’s movie, The Dilemma.
Here’s a portion of their news release:
The trailer opens with the phrase “Electric cars are gay” in an attempt at humor, but it’s hardly a joke for audiences growing increasingly frustrated by use of the word “gay” as a pejorative. Vince Vaughn’s character goes on to clarify that he doesn’t mean, “homosexual, gay, but, you know, my parents are chaperoning the dance, gay.”
Making gay people the butt of a joke–even when the joke says they’re not–feeds into damaging bias against gay people. “Dilemma’s” use of the word “gay” as an insult contributes to a social environment in which gay people are ridiculed, discriminated against–or even worse. Most troubling are the impacts to gay youth who endure bullying with such epithets: movies like “The Dilemma” that use anti-gay humor give a green light to negative words and hurtful acts that contribute to gay children’s low self-esteem, perceived lack of safety and even–as we have seen in recent series of bullying-related suicides and anti-gay attacks–violence.
Rather than ignoring current events, Universal Pictures should be especially sensitive to the power of words and the message they send young people about their self-worth.
“When ‘gay’ is used as a pejorative in such a public way for millions to see and laugh with, it legitimizes and propels the many taunts that gay people endure,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Amidst a rash of bullying related suicides and anti-gay hate crimes, we need to tell Universal and America that our community is tired of being used as a punch line.”
We didn’t think the joke was worth pulling from the trailer in the first place, but acknowledge that those who felt that using the “gay” term in an all-audiences trailer was inappropriate is at least within the realm of reasonable. Agree to disagree territory.
But asking the filmmakers to remove the joke from the movie entirely? Beyond ridiculous.
I really have to wonder if there aren’t a million other targets that are actually a lot more hurtful to gays than this line in a comedy movie? You know, where the target of the joke are actual homosexuals (such as a joke in MacGruber), not just a repurposing of the word. Where was GLAAD when The Hangover was breaking box office records with the joke “paging Doctor Faggot?” Isn’t that a lot more offensive than the use in The Dilemma? There are a numerous examples of jokes that make homosexuals the butt of the joke. Vaughn’s line in The Dilemma is definitely something different?
And where does it stop? Do we need to pull Get Him to the Greek from store shelves because some are offended by Sean Combs’ “House Nigger” line? How about revoking Robert Downey Jr.’s Oscar nomination for Tropic Thunder because he used the word “retard.” It’s a slippery slope and putting studios in the crosshairs over edgy material doesn’t serve anyone’s cause.