Gay groups are organizing an online protest over Universal’s refusal to cut an anti-gay slur from its upcoming comedy "The Dilemma." The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced Monday that it has begun circulating an online petition to pressure the studio to pull a scene from the upcoming comedy where star Vince Vaughn uses “gay” as an insult.
In the film Vaughn tells a group of executives, “Ladies and gentleman, electric cars are gay."
With a spate of homophobic bullying making headlines recently, including the suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, GLAAD wasn’t laughing.
"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."
Universal announced Friday that it had yielded to pressure and would pull a trailer with that scene from theaters. The studio has already replaced the trailer online, but said it will not be able to pull it from theaters until next week when a new cycle of previews starts. On Monday, GLAAD suggested Universal had gone back on its word by not pulling the teasers more quickly.
GLAAD said that earlier, a representative from the studio had also falsely alleged that the organization initially supported the trailer.
The studio said it would wait to make a decision on whether or not to excise the joke until it saw the finished project. However, given director Ron Howard’s stature it is likely that his contract contains a final cut provision, meaning the decision may rest with Howard and not Universal.
GLAAD's online petition, which sends e-mails directly to Universal executives, reads: "Contact Universal Pictures and urge its representatives to remove offensive anti-gay language from the upcoming movie, 'The Dilemma.' Tell them that phrases like 'that's so gay' are extremely damaging and contribute to putting young people in harm's way. Teen bullying is no joke. If Universal insists on keeping the homophobic material in the final movie they are helping to fuel a climate that endorses and promotes anti-gay attitudes. Please also demand that Universal live up to its word and remove the trailer from ALL theatres immediately."