October 29, 2010, Los Angeles, CA - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today released the following statement in reaction to Universal and Ron Howard's refusal to remove an anti-gay joke from the upcoming release 'The Dilemma.' Universal made the statement tonight to writer Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times' 'The Big Picture' blog. Goldstein and the Los Angeles Times did not contact GLAAD for comment prior to the article and Goldstein has not returned calls to GLAAD on other columns he wrote on the film.
“At a time when so many in our country are speaking out against the bullying of gay youth, Universal was right to acknowledge the offensive nature of this 'joke' when it removed it from trailers," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Unfortunately, by leaving it in the movie, they are now contributing to the problem. The conversations started as a result of the community’s response to this slur will help schools, media and parents understand the impact of the word ‘gay' being used as a pejorative. Hopefully in the future, Universal and Ron Howard will recognize the power of their words and use their films to bring people together rather than drive us apart.”
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."
Last month, GLAAD received its first complaint about the trailer after Universal asked GLAAD to provide feedback on the clip. The feedback was clear: it plays on the sorts of stereotypes that give license to bullies and should be taken out. Then, when CNN's Anderson Cooper denounced the trailer and over 2,700 community members and allies signed GLAAD's online petition, Universal removed the anti-gay joke from the trailer. Tonight Universal and Ron Howard confirmed that the anti-gay content would remain in the film.