Director Ron Howard: ‘Gay’ Joke Will Remain In ‘The Dilemma’

Earlier this month Vince Vaughn defended the "electric cars are gay" joke his character utters in the trailer for the upcoming Universal Studios release, The Dilemma. After receiving criticism from many, including GLAAD and Anderson Cooper, Universal axed the joke from the trailer. Now director Ron Howard is defending the joke and guess what? He's decided to leave it in the final cut of the movie, which will be released in January.

Howard tells the LA Times:

Vv "So why was the joke in the movie?  Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what's okay to say.  He tries to do what's right but sometimes falls short.  Who can't relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way."

He adds: "I believe in sensitivity but not censorship. I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative characterizations and language. It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character's personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it."

No word yet from Anderson Cooper but GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios issued a response immediately after hearing Howard's decision to keep the joke in 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. 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."


  1. Mike says

    Didn’t Ron Howard also de-gay “A Beautiful Mind”?

    Even if this instance is being held as emblematic of a larger problem, is it really such a brave stance against censorship to keep a line with “gay” as a joke/slur? Couldn’t the dialogue stay in character and not have to target a still discriminated minority?

  2. eb says

    bad taste, bad timing. its not the end of the world, but sh#t like this is more of the same. divorced from reality hollywood producers consult divorced from reality hollywood gays for their permission, forget reality, forget the kids who have the sh#t kicked out of them every day, its worth the joke im sure. ron, you’re better than this.

  3. Dan says

    For gods’ sake, it’s a line in a movie, it’s not advocating violence. Do we really have to sanitize the life experience of every person growing up in America (and elsewhere) today?

  4. malo says

    Listen Andy(Towle) and Steve Pep: In HBO’s show “Weeds”, the young character Shane says the same thing to his mom about a Toyota Prius. “It’s gay”, he says, after she trades a Land Rover for the best seller hybrid.

  5. nic says

    @DAN, yes we do. it takes just a few synaptic connections to right a wrong. perhaps we might lose a simple-minded chortle here or there, but the lives we save may be our own. don’t be an idiot. think ahead.

  6. mike says

    Ohh take a stand Opie. I am glad for journalist like Anderson and Maddow now in mainstream primetime bringing these issues to light. if his character is soo outrageous – why fall back on a lame line like that? Howard is so breeder.

  7. Ryan says

    I agree with Ron Howard. I think it was appropriate to remove it from the trailer. I know when I saw the trailer (before the controversy) The line in question sort of felt like a slap in the face. However, within a full length movie as a whole – and a comedy at that – I think it fine. Ron Howard makes a great point about it extending the character. The line is said during a sales pitch in a corporate setting. Common sense tells the audience that use of the joke in that setting is probably a bad idea. The incident totally shows how out of touch he is. Art (yes this IS art) has to offend sometimes in order to clearly send the intended message. So, sorry if it’s an unpopular point of view.

  8. Kelehe says

    While I see a place for language that is offensive in film for various reasons, I fail to see a need when it is not relevant to the character’s persona or character development. What bothers me the most is that in films that do have gay characters, they “toned down” or eliminated, but bring on the stereotypes and pejoratives.

  9. eb says

    having seen the trailer, i doubt that the 6 people who will see the film will give a crap either way.

    and @ryan, everything can be art; but that doesnt make everything good art. this movie isnt sending a message, its a date night movie that will disappear into a walmart dollar bin in a few months.

  10. nic says

    fuck you. would the movie suffer without the gay slam? it is bad art, bad judgment, bad film-making, and just bad.

  11. malo says

    so it is not going to be the first or the last time that gay and lame-boring-ugly are used as synonyms.

  12. QJ201 says

    So what Ron is saying is that the audience is too stupid to understand that Vaughn’s character is an asshole unless he uses the word gay.

    Lame excuse.

  13. nic says

    @MALO, wtf are you saying? i would hope it is the last time. you are a quisling — a go along to get along fuck-buddy.

  14. Natira says

    Who cares? No one is going to watch a tedious Vince Vaughn movie regardless. If Vince was funny, people wouldn’t watch it. If Vince was naked, people wouldn’t watch it.

  15. nic says

    i am sick of the straight, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, ass-backward acknowledgment of my homosexuality. elbows can be sharp. in essence they (and i include ron howard in the devil’s brew) are saying i tolerate you, but i don’t accept you. i reserve the right to kick you in the stomach when it suits my needs or whims — even if it is only for a cheap laugh. i have had enough.

  16. Tigerama says

    If it’s good for them, it’s good for us, and frankly I’m tired of being the lazy well that writers go to for a quick laugh – there’s a reason that you don’t see many Jew and Black “jokes” handled like this, and that’s because those groups tend to get organized and pissed very quick – we, however, like to sit around and AGONIZE about everything.

  17. Gary says

    Ron Howard movies are gay (by his own definition of the term). Da Vinci Code?? Come on, who cares what he makes, no one likes his movies. Adding Vaughn to his movie just makes it all the more unbearable.

  18. Lane says

    I get what Ron is saying. It is kind of hard for me to wach period movies that use the N word but I get it was a part of that time. I just know that that the people who use the words are not being shown as good people. I personally don’t want to see The DILEMMA. You can show someone being an ass without using hurful words and I think it is a choice.

  19. Harrison says

    I guess the part that I keep coming back to is that Ron Howard says that the joke should not have been in the trailer ( states he said it was “appropriate”). I don’t know much about the film industry, but I am guessing that directors don’t cut their own trailers and that someone else came in and decided what the preview should look like. However, if it’s apparently so integral to the character that this joke needs to stay in the movie, as it’s “an aspect of our lead character’s personality,” then why WOULDN’T they put it in the trailer? If it’s in the movie, it should be fair game for the trailer; it’s not like they made up some new footage that didn’t already exist to try to sell your movie. (Yes, I know that there are side issues of why someone thought that joke would be the joke to put in the trailer to convince people to see the movie, I get that.)

    On another level, and this is probably naive of me to even say… again, not knowing much about Hollywood, I do find it a little suspect that everyone in this movie went through the whole script (actors do read the scripts before they decide to do a film, right?) and that no one thought it was worth protesting. I wonder if the joke would still be in the movie if one of the actors made a stink about it. (Not thae the recent “Hangover 2″ Mel Gibson scenario is comparable to this, but it bears mentioning.)

  20. Tom Stoppard says

    OK. Let’s keep this simple for Ron Howard, Vince Vaughan and the rest of Hollywood. I won’t pay to see this film. Everyone I know will not pay to see this film. Your decision to include this line means you will LOSE MONEY.

    And let’s face it, money is the only thing that Ron Howard and Hollywood really care about.

  21. jamesintoronto says

    I was appalled when I went to see “The Hangover” and in the first 5 minutes Bradley Cooper’s character yells “paging Dr. Fa** ot” to Ed Helms. But I was even more shocked when the audience roared with laughter. I live in Canada’s largest city and rarely, if ever, hear that word. But I think I live in an urban bubble and forget that there are people out there (lots of them) who hate us and find the derision of us funny. Ron Howard has now added his voice to that chorus and it disappoints me. I hope the movie bombs.

  22. says

    Thanks for bringing up “A Beautiful Mind,” Mike.

    Opie has a ton and a half of power, Harrison. He makes precisely the films he wants to make because of his box office track record. No actor would dare to cross him.

  23. vegetablelollipop says

    “That’s so gay.”

    It’s a phrase used mostly by hateful and/or ignorant men and boys that means in the mind of these men and boys “it’s disgusting because it seems to invoke what I think to be the disgusting qualities of gay men.”

    It’s a juvenile phrase that views homosexuality as something wrong.

    Let’s play a thought experiment about how bigotry is accepted for some groups but not others.


    While Ron Howard may not be Jewish, producers and directors in Hollywood routinely celebrate the fact that most of the founding studios within the film and television industries were started and run by Jewish immigrants and that the industry still has a disproportionately high number of Jewish American producers, directors, agents, and financial staff in relation to the number of Jews in America as a whole (which, according to Wikipedia and other sources is 2.1% of the nation’s population).

    Within this context, *any* perception of anti-Jewish sentiment, words, or actions made by non-Jews is openly attacked and condemned and the non-Jewish person making even the slightest joke about Jews is likely to be blackballed in these industries or, at the minimum, widely condemned. (Jewish comedians are sometimes allowed to make jokes about themselves within the industry without outsize censorship.)

    Question: Would the film industry EVER accept a trailer or a film marketed to the general public that has ANY anti-Jewish jokes, however small (unless the film was about internal Jewish relations amongst Jews and the film was about bigotry)?

    Answer: No.


    African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latino/a/Latin/Central/South Americans are different cases. Each of these groups have suffered a century of stereotypical racist treatment by whites and Jews within films and on television; and this is not to mention these groups exclusion in casting and their ghettoization in “race films.”

    But today it would STILL be an outrage for a white film director in films marketed to the general public (not race films) to include an anti-black, Asian or Latino/a joke or passage in a film.

    (However, even still it is likely that the director and producer may still work in Hollywood again.)

    My point is that homosexuals and transgenders (with a few exceptions) are the last acceptable targets of massive mainstream bias in film, television, and all popular media.

    One seemingly little joke speaks volumes and it sticks in the mind of children and teenagers and they repeat it for GENERATIONS. “That’s so gay” is an example of this viciously pervasive and ACCEPTABLE hatred.

    If you wouldn’t say the joke or passage about Jews, blacks, Asians or other groups, then don’t say it about LGBT people of any race.


  24. Pugzz says

    I’m a gay man and someone saying that something is “gay” does not offend me in the least. It’s just a change in our language. It happens all the time in spoken English that one word also means something else. I also don’t believe in censorship. Freedom of speech also allows me to speak up when I must. If you don’t like it, don’t see the movie.

  25. Kyle says

    I believe the response by GLAAD’s Barrios was appropriate.

    The quality of the movie would not have suffered by removing the so-called joke. I think it’s Ron Howard’s ego that is at issue here.

    We need to be vigilant about anything that denigrates gays. I won’t be viewing this or any future Ron Howard movies.

  26. BartB says

    Ron Howard’s mea culpa is so lame it borders on self-deluded bullshit. Come out of your millionaire, white, straight bubble and step into the real world. Same goes for Vince Vaughn.

    Real truth, even though Vince is about my age and I should be his audience, I really don’t want to see a movie about another grown adolescent. Really, that’s the best you got? The premise of this movie is so thin it’s almost not there. Having seen the laugh-less preview, I’ve seen the movie. Fill in the rest with Vince mugging, and Ron Howard directing by telling Vince to do it “bigger.” What will keep people from this movie is that it looks like it sucks. Rich white people making a comedic movie about something they don’t know anything about…real life.

    Ron, Vince, and the rest of them need to grow up, grow a pair, and start acting their (old) age. It’s sad to see talented people desperately trying to hang onto relevance in a youth market.

  27. vegetablelollipop says


    So you would say “That’s so Jew or Jewish” in a way that paints Jews as wrong, stereotypical, or negative?

    If so then you are a bigot and ignorant despite being gay.

    If you wouldn’t say the joke or passage about Jews, blacks, Asians or other groups, then don’t say it about LGBT people of any race.


  28. jason says

    Ron Howard says he believes in sensitivity, not censorship. In that case, why did he censor A Beautiful Mind, eliminating any trace of the lead character’s homosexuality, a homosexuality that was described in the book on which the movie was based?

    The man is quite clearly a hypocrite. GLAAD’s response seems weak as piss.

  29. Joseph says

    Excellent point, Jason: Ron Howard is, indeed, a hypocrite when he rails against censorship, since that’s precisely what he did with A Beautiful Mind (as well, he cast lily-white, non-accented American Jennifer Connelly as Nash’s dark-skinned, heavily-accented Hondurian wife–a different form of censorship; what, Salma Hayek or Jennifer Lopez weren’t available?).

    If anything, I hope this contretemps means that Hollywood will stop including “gay” and “fag” comments in their films except within a historical context.

    You’d think liberal Hollywood would know that we find these terms offensive and do NOT want to hear them when go out for a night of escapist entertainment.

  30. jomicur says

    Opie’s entire directorial career has consisted of making dumb movies for dumb straight white fratboys. Now he seems to be aiming at dumb straight white high school jocks. Whats next in the progression, a Barney movie?

  31. pete says

    As my mom would say, “Is that the hill you want to die on?”

    Ron, there’s a difference between censorship & consideration for others. We let our feelings be known, you told us we were wrong.

    I doubt, very much, that I’ll ever see another of your or your associates’ films in the future.

    See ya.

  32. SteveC says

    Queen Latifah is an openly closeted lesbian, and she’s in the scene where the ‘gay’ slur is used. I do hope that journalists remain ‘sensitive’ but don’t censor themselves while she is promoting the film. She needs to be asked quite openly: “As a lesbian, do you, Queen Latifah, think it is appropriate to use the word ‘gay’ as a slur in a movie?”

    That seems reasonable to me.

  33. candideinnc says

    It just comes down to we are sick and tired of being the punch line of your unfunny jokes. I quit going to stand-up comedy acts years ago. I won’t go to see this or rent it now, either.

  34. MajorTom says

    So, I guess Ron Howard would not object if we started to refer to the justification of slurs against minorities as being “so Opie” — right? I mean, we’re gay, but we’re not supposed to be offended when the “word” gay is used as a pejorative. We’re not supposed to take it personally. Why should he?

  35. Mike says

    I’m absolutely not for censorship, especially in the arts – if they want to leave it in; it’s their choice. That said, in this particular instance I think it is a bad choice. How many Amos and Andy or Aunt Jemima jokes do we see these days? The problem as I’ve said many times is we still haven’t reached the point where this type of behaviour is socially unacceptable. We’re getting there, but not yet. I hope we get there soon. It fucked up my youth, and it’s doing the same to others. It really is despicable.

  36. princely54 says

    I don’t think it should be censored from the movie IF it really does come down to the character being flawed. Years ago, I remember how my father found NOTHING funny about Archie Bunker because of the racist slurs he threw about. I did find the character funny because he was always ultimately the butt of the joke — he was NEVER right. Insulting characters have a place in entertainment/art if its to draw a character (I mean, guys like this exist) or make a larger point.

    Does it in this movie? I haven’t seen it, but probably not. Its probably spin to keep the complaints down to a dull roar. But, it doesn’t mean it should be censored. Just don’t see it and let others know why you won’t.

  37. says

    Absolutely ridiculous. Certain things are ‘gay’. It’s a friggin joke people. Lighten up. The gay guys on Modern Family drive a Prius. Why? Because it’s funny, but I don’t hear anyone ripping on Modern Family. I understand why everyone’s sensitive right now but lets not swing the pendulum so far that we turn everything into a cause.

  38. Mouse says

    I don’t like Vince Vaughn or Ron Howard movies, and I doubt the film would suffer at all with the ‘joke’ removed or replaced.

    I’m even getting increasingly intolerant of the casual, constant, though not necessarily discriminatory use of “that’s so gay” to mean “that’s lame”. It’s tiresome and obnoxious and people’s distaste for it has been well established… at this point nobody has an excuse to believe that it’s innocent, even if they add an h to ghey.

    That said, I think Ron has a point. If it’s used to illustrate what kind of man this character is, and that portrayal is not positive, I don’t have a problem with it. People do bad things all the time in movies to establish their roles. And frankly, it doesn’t matter how sick and tired we are of it. We’re sick and tired of war, rape, murder, and white collar crime, yet people do that stuff constantly on film and I don’t hear anyone complaining that movies justify any of those activities.

    I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know exactly how it’s used, and don’t plan of finding out. It looks stupid. Maybe we can take what Ron said at face value, or maybe not and the joke’s only played for laughs. I don’t know. But assuming he’s being fair in his description, I don’t have a problem with it.

    I think the GLAAD position lacks nuance, and that completely turns me off. Since when is film a force for bringing people together? It’s an entertainment than only occasionally strays into anything with real social meaning, and the mere presence of something in a film is not an endorsement.

    Would there be such a huge uproar if a film depicted an obvious homophobe using “that’s so gay” and then immediately getting his comeuppance with a loud and aggressive verbal beat-down for being a bigot? If his every expression of bigotry was met with instant retribution? I doubt it, people would probably cheer.

    There’s a place in film for “that’s so gay” outside of historical accuracy, just like any other slur. I’m not going to abandon context to sooth my own rage at homophobia.

  39. nic says

    i have a trap ready to snap your neck. there is no needful reason for homophobia. saying that something is “so gay” is allowing homophobia. it permits the pernicious atmosphere that permeates the airwaves. you should be ashamed of yourself. btw, the word is soothe.

  40. justiceontherocks says

    1) I don’t think anyone will take anything in this movie with even a grain of salt. They won’t remember anything that was said five minutes after they leave the theater.
    2) Not every joke made about a group of people is hateful.
    3) If we’re going to fight battles over offensive images, and make a dent in public opinion, we have to choose them carefully.

  41. SteveC says

    The joke Howard uses in his movie is so jewish. Not religion jewish, but your parents accompanying you on a date jewish.

  42. nic says


    well, little boy, what you think amounts to a piss on the snow. casting aspersions like your breaking wind affects other people. so, smart guy, where should we draw the line?

  43. walter says

    vince is not funny. he is one these new hollywood actors who keep making new movies no matter how bad their last one was. ron howard mentions censorship well we all have the best form of censorship. not going to the movie. if enough people don’t go they will stop. beside everyone of vaughan movies look just like the last one. maybe he could find a talent coach?

  44. SteveC says

    Exercise YOUR freedom of speech by contacting Ron Howard and letting him know what you think of his films:

    Ron Howard’s production company:
    Imagine Entertainment

    9465 Wilshire Boulevard

    7th Floor

    Beverly Hills, CA 90212

    Phone: 310-858-2000


  45. Jerry says

    While this isn’t on a par with a butt-ugly mouth like Tracy Morgan’s, it IS offensive to use “gay” as an adjective/pejorative for “less than masculine”. If the term was uttered by a character who was obviously a dead-head homophobe, it wouldn’t be inappropriate. But context is everything, and while I’m against censorship, I would think that Ron Howard, after all his years in the business, would have developed a bit more sensitivity to an issue like this.

  46. TANK says

    Ah, the self loathing fag routine… It’s hard to get worked up over that cliche…just ignore them. Ron Howard makes terrible movies that people who have no taste enjoy a lot. It’s essentially the blue collar comedy tour for middle class whites who have been to college.

  47. shanesoho says

    i thought the same thing when i netflixed ‘the hangover’! bradley cooper (who i think is a closet-case himself) yelling the line ‘paging dr. faggot’…not funny. not ‘relevant to character development’. simply stop-me-in-my-tracks offensive, because it was clearly meant to elicit laughter at the effete ed helms character’s expense. i think i stopped listening at that moment, and stopped watching a few minutes later. and that movie did well at the box office; i was shocked.

  48. says

    Barrios’s response to Ron Howard’s insensitivity is mealy-mouthed. It shows that GLAAD is still kissing the movie industry’s ass.

    Andy Griffith’s “Opie” was a snot-nosed little brat! And “Ritchie Cunningham” of Happy Days wasn’t much different . . . no wonder Mrs. C preferred Fonzie.

  49. nic says

    don’t patronize me. i am much more sober than you can ever pretend to be, even with the ditzy head that wobbles on your tiny, weak shoulders. i am defending you, you silly queer! i am fighting your battles. why would you challenge the good efforts of others? stfu and get the hell out of the way.

  50. says

    I’m pissed off and tired of our “you hurt our feelings” responses. Here is a short video response my friend and I made to Vince Vaughn called, “That is so Vince Vaughn’s Mother’s Pussy.”

  51. says

    Ron Howard was not concerned with censorship when it came to editing out the gay relationships that were a major part of the book A BEAUTIFUL MIND. I do not understand why he thinks it makes sense to change events in the life of John Nash to edit out his actual homosexual experiences, but it does not make sense to edit out a bigoted joke.
    It’s very hard for me to believe that the opposing attitudes he shows in these situations do not show some bias against gay people. I’m sure he didn’t think it was homophobic to make a movie about a man who was fired for having gay sex without mentioning that he ever did anything gay. I’m sure he doesn’t see any hostility to gay people in insisting that words which many people have been hurt by remain in his film.
    I can’t imagine ever wanting to see another Ron Howard movie again, though.

  52. Mike says

    You can also write to Mr. Howard on Twitter at @realronhoward.

    What he fails to understand is that just as it was once perfectly OK just a few decades ago to not only say “darkies” and “blackies” but also base entire movies about them and characters like Stepin Fetchit, those portrayals are severely frowned upon today.

    Another sad things is that this spoils not just this movie, but I’ll never be able to look at a Ron Howard movie in the past or future without remembering his attitude and how he handled this incident, with the result being that I’ll try my best to avoid watching any Ron Howard movies at all.

  53. Eric says

    I would like to see Ron Howard use the same rational of not wanting to censor a character, if said character flaws included racial or religious derogatives. What if Vince character said “you are such a ngger, or you are such a dirty jew”? Then what?

  54. mike says

    All this gay drama over one line? Where the hell were all you fussy marys when “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” was out there smelling up the multiplexes? Anybody watching Boardwalk Empire? That HBO monstrosity is so racist, so laden with stereotypes, one wonders why all of you aren’t up in arms over THAT.

    One wonders in what context does Vince Vaughn’s character say this innocuously “offensive” line? Context is everything.

    So, what are all you thin-skinned hand-wringers going to do? Will you storm the cinemas, forcefully stomp your “tsk-tsk” foot on the stain-resistant, garishly-red carpeting and demand this film be withdrawn from circulation?

    How about taking some of your ersatz righteous indignation and put it to better use?

    Um, there’s a couple of bloody wars going on. Thousands of people are out of work. Millions have lost their homes. LGBT people in Uganda and Iraq are being hunted, tortured and killed in cold blood. There’s a good possibility that come this Tuesday night, we LGBT people in this country might find ourselves in the cross-hairs of a dangerously-resurgent republicon party whose supporters will have no qualms about amending the Constitution to institutionalize their homophobia.

    Besides, any film with a bloated Vince Vaughn directed by Ron Howard will probably be seen by 400 people, not including the snack-concession clerks, the theatre managers and the projectionists.

    Get over it. There are more important issues at hand right now. One stupid line in a mediocre film ain’t one of them.

  55. Vince says

    In defending his use of the “that’s so gay” joke in his movie “The Dilemma,” Ron Howard states that he believes in sensitivity, but not in censorship. As has been pointed out by others on this thread, Ron Howard is a hypocrite on both counts.

    Has he not heard of the rash of gay teenage suicides? Does he think, perhaps, this has resulted from sensitive young men being stigmatized because they’re gay? Does he think that the casual use of the phrase – “That’s so gay! – is going to help troubled gay youth to accept their sexual identity? Or does he think that the insulated, in-bred, incestuous world of Hollywood, where the putting down of gays is considered just good-natured ribbing, reflects the real world we’re living in? It would appear that Ron Howard’s sensitivity stops at the Hollywood border.

    As for censorship, Mr. Howard had no trouble censoring Sylvia Nasar’s book, A Beautiful Mind when he made the film version. All references to gay relationships John Nash (Russell Crowe) had were expunged in an obvious attempt to make the character more acceptable and sympathetic to the mainstream audience. Many critics called him on this in citing his whitewashing of his hero and in the romanticizing of his marriage.

    But what I find particularly pathetic is that Mr. Howard is taking his “free speech” stand on a line that has become so tired from being used in every other TV sitcom. Perhaps when it was first coined twenty years ago, there was a good-natured ribbing aspect to it. But over the years it has taken on a sinister cast: It is one man questioning another man’s manhood. It’s saying: You’re not one of us, you’re one of THEM. When I hear – That’s so gay! – it smacks my ears as – You’re so queer! It is used as a put-down. As a slur. It has made the word “gay” stand for something not acceptable.

    And what is the epic vehicle that this brilliant bon mot is being used in? Yet another Vince Vaughn “buddy” comedy to add to the other lame Vince Vaughn “buddy” comedies that have littered the movie landscape. Dumped on the market in January, the cemetery of movie months, this is the movie that Ron Howard wants to stake his sensitivity and truth on. This “comedy” better be another Some Like It Hot!

    Those who wish to defend Ron Howard and Vince Vaughn fall into the same trap many gays do. Let’s not seem petulant. Or spoiled sports. Let’s show we can take a joke as well as the next guy. Never mind that if the word “gay” were replaced by the word “black” or the word “Jewish,” and used in the same context, it would not fly in Hollywood. This attitude of let bygones be bygones is strictly a one way street, with gays having to do all the heavy lifting. This is the same attitude that was adopted by many in the gay community when Brokeback Mountain was denied the Best Picture Oscar because so many in the Academy refused to see the movie due to its “disgusting” (Tony Curtis) subject matter. This is being gracious to the point of self-annihilation.

    Homophobia in Hollywood continues apace. And sadly, many in the gay community are willing to accept it as business as usual.

  56. KevMusic says

    Touching on what a couple of the earlier posters said, you will never see Jewish people condone or rationalize them being used in a derogatory manner. I have heard Blacks argue for the usage of the N word (I’m Black and I find that to be absolutely ridiculous) and Gays who are okay with this “Dilemma” scenario. Until we stand together against this sort of behavior, society at large will continue to find it easy to treat us as second class citizens.

  57. Kyle Sullivan says

    Thing is, while Ron Howard is betraying himself as a stupid, childish, sheltered idiot, I agree with his basic comment about censorship. I don’t believe in shutting anybody up…but at the same time I don’t believe just saying “That’s not nice” in response is adequate. If Opie wants his stupid little joke in his stupid little movie, and Vince Vaughn REAAAAALY wants to say it, they have that right. But 1. I ain’t gonna see the damned thing, 2. I’ll never go near another movie either of them is involved with and 3. Ron and Vaughn deserve any and all criticism sent their way. Because just like they have the right to speak, so do I.

  58. Ishaq says

    I’ve seen the trailer and I’m not impressed or moved in any way. The Vince Vaughn style of humor has sailed, his career is drowning and this scandal will probably be the last chunk of publicity he’ll be remembered for so,… who cares? I mean really, what kid says they want to embody the ‘douchebaggery’ of Vince Vaughn when the grow up?

  59. bigflip says

    Stuff like this always confuses me. I just don’t see this as being a very big issue. It’s sounding a bit too gay, which, as a phrase, I love to use. “Look Mickey, that hag’s hat is so gay”. Yes, I understand the power of words and yes, I know the tragedies of the past few weeks have been horrific. The reality is far greater then whether Billy and Suzy say something is gay. Instead of jumping on Ron’s back (he was cute as a boy and a little hot as Richey but I wouldn’t jump that back now) show those kids out there that we may have to deal with this shit  for the rest of our lives but that it doesn’t mean that it takes us over. Find a real battle and fight it. Learn to laugh about it….as one post pointed out that it was used the same way in “Weeds” about a Prius. I wouldn’t mind being associated with a Prius. If it was a true insult they’d say “That ’77 Ford Pinto is so gay” then I would be willing to fight.

  60. bobbyjoe says


    The “Archie Bunker” comparison doesn’t work in this case, though, because “All in the Family” was specifically designed to confront Archie’s bigotry– they weren’t just throwaway lines, but were contrasted with specific minority characters who showed Archie’s racism for what it was. Archie was often directly faced with his bigotry– not just some blurry conception of Archie being a jerk– and, over the course of the series, the show had Archie learn from it.

    Does “The Dilemma” have any gay characters who are used for this kind of contrast (other than the closeted Queen Latifah)? Ron Howard is saying he threw in this “gay” line just to play into some vague overall conception about Vince Vaughn’s character being a well-meaning jerk. But Norman Lear, the creator of “All in the Family” didn’t just use Archie’s racism to show Archie was an “a**hole”– he used it because his messages were specifically ABOUT racism and the plots of “All in the Family” episodes followed through on it.

    There’s a huge difference.

  61. nic says

    @MIKE, well you told us! where does this kind of thinking come from? i suppose it is from the school of thought that preaches that a human being cannot chew gum and walk at the same time. it is the absurd rationalization that dictates, “you cannot fight bigotry at home while there are starving children in somalia.” don’t be stupid.

    while you turn a blind eye to thinly veiled homophobia, many of us are suffering a slow death by murder of a thousand cuts. with your slack-jawed approach, sooner or later, we will all bleed out. i prefer to put pressure on the wound and stanch the flow.

    we deserve better.

  62. GregV says

    “It happens all the time in spoken English that one word also means something else.”

    Pugzz, I heard my white, straight friends in high school using the words “gay,” and “homo” to mean weak, stupid, ugly, etc. I heard them using “Jewish” to mean “cheap,” “lame,” etc and I heard them using “n!&&er work” to refer to degrading jobs.
    Such references did not come into use indfependently of their association with degraded groups in society; in fact, they are always used in tandem with their use to refer to groups who experience prejudice.
    With education (by being called on the offense), people’s identities do NOT need to continue being used as degrading terms.
    You would no longer hear most people’s identities referd to this way in mainstream movies outside of very specific contexts. “Gay,” “homo” and other words refering to gay people seem to still get a pass.
    Kids hear these refernces in movies and on TV and it DOES affect how they speak in real life. And if the character isn’t foiled by something to contrast the anti-gay message, they walk away from the theatre only having reinforced their use of someone’s identity as a put-down.

  63. GregV says

    @Mike: I don’t know where YOU were when Chuck and Larry came out, but a lot of us knew why it was problematic. I wouldn’t pay a cent to see it. The problem with that movie was the premise that the only way straight people might obtain all the lagal “perks” that gay people get is if they prtend to be gay.
    That would have been FINE if, in the end, Chuck and Larry had realized that that notion is absurd. Maybe they could have taken a trip to Florida, experienced a serious accident and then had obstacles put in their way that they never would have experienced with an opposite-sex spouse. They could have concluded that they were wrong. “Gay people don’t get paid extra perks — they don’t get anything but shitty crumbs from this government and that’s got to change.”
    But that’s not what happened, and the viewer was left with this stupid idea reinforced.

    @BobbyJoe: You make an excellent point about Archie Bunker. I can think of dozens of examples off the top of my head.
    Yes, Archie referd to black people in degrading terms.
    But there was always a black man behind the curtain in the next hospital bed proving his assumptions wrong, or a black man explaining to Archie why white men never had to make a point that “I’m not a boy,” or Lionel Jefferson saying something eloquent (followed by a round of applause) to put the bigotry in its place.

    Last year there was some publicity about attacks on “gingers” (red-heads) that followed a South Park episode. If thousands of red-heads were actually being attacked and murdered around the world and still had second-class citienship in the United States, and there had been red-heads as young as 13 bullied to death over their hair, I wonder how funny Opie would think it is to have included a line saying “Electric cars are for gingers.”
    We can only imagine, because he’s never experienced bigotry on that level.

  64. nic says

    look it, if we put up with shit, we will continue to be fed shit. i, for one, can discern the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit. as gay people we have been relegated to second-class status. no, no, no, no, and no. we are richer, smarter, and better educated than the general population. why should we accept a bitch slap from a second tier director of second grade movies? man up!

  65. niles says

    Wasn’t Opie making good movies at one time? I can’t remember one, but am pretty sure he did. Don’t know what happened to him.

  66. jaragon says

    I saw the new trailer and the movie still looks like an unfunny comedy disaster. Let’s not give any more publicity to this lame excuse for a comedy. They will not be getting my money.

  67. wimsy says

    Tom Stoppard wrote: “OK. Let’s keep this simple for Ron Howard, Vince Vaughan and the rest of Hollywood. I won’t pay to see this film.”


  68. Lester Malizia says

    I saw the trailer recently The joke was not removed If this had been an N joke would Ron Howard have been as comfortable with it ? I will not see this movie nor any other Ron Howard movie

  69. nudel says

    GARY: “Ron Howard movies are gay…”

    OMG, he said the word ‘gay’ *and* in an offensive context! Snakes-alive! GLAAD must take a stand and immediately call for a boycott of Towleroad for allowing such insensitive and damaging comments on its web site.

    Translation: Get a grip people!

  70. Randy says

    Ron Howard has been annoying me for a long time.

    Don’t worry about the censorship. I’ll take care of it myself, by simply not seeing it.

  71. randy says

    I had a miserable time in junior high and high school with all the gay jokes, gay slurs, and “that’s so gay.” It was a daily hell. I cried so often at night. A lot of kids are going to see that movie and think it’s cool to continue saying these things. Shame on you for continuing to make life hell for so many.