GLAAD Demands “Gay” Joke Be Pulled Entirely from ‘The Dilemma’

Monday, October 11, 2010
By Kevin Crossman

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.”

Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn

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.

10 Responses to “GLAAD Demands “Gay” Joke Be Pulled Entirely from ‘The Dilemma’”

  1. Rick

    “You know how I know you’re…” (scene not found)

  2. Al

    While I agree with this analysis for the most part, I must point out something about The Hangover joke. GLAAD probably did not have a problem with that joke because it was implying that the characters saying “paging Doctor Faggot” were immature (within the context of the other lines in the scene).

    However, following GLAAD’s logic, they still could have objected to Bradley Cooper’s character saying “don’t text me, it’s gay.” In my opinion, that would be worse than the Vince Vaughan joke because there was nothing stating that it wasn’t homosexual-related.

  3. Kevin Crossman

    From this week’s Eastbound & Down: 3D is gay

  4. Pru

    GLAAD did blog about The Hangover on their site, but that was the extent of it (not sure if you can post links in a reply, search The Hangover in their blog), but then those jokes were not part of a trailer. I guess this is the first time a “gay” joke has been featured in a trailer intended for all audiences, for a movie that I’m going to guess will be rated PG-13 not R like the other movies you mentioned. Coupled with the recent tragic news events and Anderson Cooper’s remarks just made for more of a media firestorm and an opportunity for a call to action on GLAAD’s part that it be removed from the film. Didn’t GLAAD also try to halt the release of Bruno? I’m foggy on the details, but I remember they raised a fuss about it, to which Universal did not bow to (I never saw the film).

  5. Bonnie

    This is getting stupid. There was a time gay meant something else. There are far more offensive actions out there that need stopped than this. I hope Universal stands up against them.

  6. ASFan

    This is an issue of poor timing, considering recent tragic events. If The Hangover was released around this time, or these recent tragic events happened around the release of it last summer, GLAAD would have probably been up in arms about that. But my God, this is getting annoying.

  7. Benjamin

    Universal shouldn’t have removed gay from the trailer, made them look weak and now GLAAD is seeing how far they can go. I think the trailer should be restored and I think people should stop making a fuss out of small things. Movies are supposed to portray people in a way that makes them seem natural and like they’re not acting. And real people use the term gay to describe dorky things. It’s perhaps unfortunate for the gay community but it’s a fact of life and isn’t going to change anytime soon. Besides when I’m describing a gay person I use the word homosexual because that’s a word invented to describe gay people whereas ‘gay’ has had many meanings over the year and was not orignally used for this purpose.

  8. Jack

    That’s pretty gay…
    (someone had to say it! LOL )

  9. Josh Watts

    I don’t know how these people can’t realize they’re doing more harm than good to their cause every time they whine like this.


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