GLAAD Rebuffs Vince Vaughn's Defense of Gay Joke

Group says "Dilemma" joke sends message that "gay taunts are acceptable."

GLAAD has rejected Vince Vaughn’s explanation of his use of a gay joke in the upcoming comedy “The Dilemma.”

In a statement issued Thursday, Vaughn appeared to be defending the controversial joke by explaining, “Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.”

But in a posting on its website Friday, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation responded, “Vince is right. Comedy does bring us together, unless one of us is the punchline. Then it pushes us apart.”

Earlier this week, GLAAD issued a call to action by asking its supporters to demand that Universal yank the trailer and remove the line from the finished film. Universal has replaced the trailer online and said it will be gone from theaters this weekend, but has also said no decision has been made about whether the line will remain in the movie, directed by Ron Howard and scheduled for release Jan. 14.

In the original trailer for the buddy comedy, which also stars Kevin James, 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.”

Amid growing media attention to the issue of schoolyard bullying and the role it plays in teen suicides, GLAAD argued that the word “gay” is used “as an insult [which] contributes to a social environment in which gay people are ridiculed, discriminated against--or even worse.”

In his first public comment on the situation, Vaughn said he deplored bullying, but also didn’t back off from the joke in the film.

 “Let me add my voice of support to the people outraged by the bullying and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those differences may be,” he said, continuing, “Comedy and joking about our differences breaks
tension and brings us together. Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop?”

GLAAD wasn’t laughing, though.

In its own post about Vaughn’s remarks, it said, “We don’t doubt Vince Vaughn’s sincerity when he says he cares about people who are bullied for their ‘differences.’ Nor do we doubt that Universal executives feel the same way. But this isn’t about intent. 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."