Vince Vaughn Defends Anti-Gay Joke in ‘The Dilemma’


In late September, I posted the trailer to the Vince Vaughn/Kevin James film The Dilemma, which opened with an off-putting "electric cars are gay" joke, and after a reference from CNN's Anderson Cooper (and an up-till-then ignored request from GLAAD) the trailer was edited. GLAAD requested the joke be edited out of the film as well.

Now, Vince Vaughn is defending the joke:

"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. 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?"

The problem is that Vaughn can't join the outrage over anti-gay bullying while contributing to (and collecting a paycheck for) the derogatory dialogue which to some makes that bullying permissible.

UPDATE: GLAAD sent us this statement late last night in response to Vaughn's remarks –

“Jokes can bring people together, but they can also push us apart," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "When 'gay' is used as a pejorative, it frequently sends a message – particularly to youth and their bullies – that being gay is wrong and something to laugh at. We invite Vince Vaughn to work with us and help ensure that gay youth and those perceived to be gay aren't put in harm's way by such jokes.”



  1. Harry says

    Well I guess I will just have to add Mr. Vaughn to the list of people who’s work I refuse to see (i.e. Tom Cruise, Mel Gisbson, Mickey Rourke, Eminem etc.)

  2. hephaestion says

    Who knew Vince Vaughan was such a bigotted dumbfuck? I guess he thinks it “divides” blacks and whites when we can’t use the “n” word in jokes, too. Vaughan, get outta town.

  3. Alan says

    Vaught says: “Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together” Make a racial joke about blacks and see where that gets you. You think that will break the tension?

  4. peterparker says

    Remember when Vince Vaughn was hot and talented? Now he’s just a washed up, unappealing coke whore who will take any job for a paycheck. Sad.

  5. 1fanboy2many says

    I’d like to hear his defense of why he thinks that joke is funny. It’s not. If you’re going to tell a gay joke, it better be funny.

  6. michael richards territory says

    It not was a joke “about” gay people, though. It was simply a flat-out slur — gay = something bad.

    What if he had said, “electric cars are Jewy”?

    Vaughn’s response is remarkably clueless, and makes matters worse.

    I am happy now to boycott his career and anyone who might enable it.

    “gay” as Vaughn used it most definitely contributes to the bullying he supposedly opposes. Shame on him.

    Also: Shame on Ron Howard and shame on Universal.

  7. TANK says

    Isn’t he a drunk or somethin’? Ya know, very briefly in his youth, he used to be something to look at…cleaned up real nicely for that unwatchable, flaming piece of crap “clay pidgeons”….then he gained a bunch of alec baldwin booze weight, and it was over. Wedding crashers was funny, though.

  8. SteveC says

    Vince Vaughn is a moronic, homophobic, bigotted dickhead.

    Does he really think that laughing at gay people is a bad thing.

    What does his lesbian co-star Queen Latifah think of the ‘joke’ I wonder?

  9. Jeff M. says

    Anyone with a clue would realize that comedy doesn’t work when it’s the majority making fun of a minority. That’s why straight white men shouldn’t tell jew jokes or n-word jokes.

    They’re speaking from a position of power, hence they are bullies, plain and simple.

  10. TANK says

    “Anyone with a clue would realize that comedy doesn’t work when it’s the majority making fun of a minority.”

    Really…you believe that? I guess comedy hasn’t worked in the u.s. since…forever, then. Lots of bullies are very funny.

  11. Frederick says

    As a former middle school teacher, I have personally witnessed the hurt this homophobic phrase caused gay & lesbian students; I’ve literally witnessed them cringe when their classmates used these hurtful words, inevitably to describe something awful.I always told these students that this was not an appropriate phrase to use because it was hurtful to a specific group of people, including myself. So I simply can’t fathom where Vince Vaughn gets off saying it’s a harmless joke. If you personally find the phrase “that’s so gay” offensive and demeaning,please write to Vaughn at the following address to let him know these words are not a joke, especially in light of the rash of recent gay teen suicides:

    Vince Vaughn
    C/O Jackoway, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Austin,Mandelbaum, Morris & Klein
    1925 Century Park East, 22nd Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90067

  12. Robert says

    Am I the only one who agrees with him? Yes, all these anti-gay slurs are wrong, but its the current generation that uses these terms without associating them directly with homosexuals. Its like that South Park episode where they try to make the point that fag has evolved to mean something other than gay.

    I know I’m going to get flamed for this, but he is right. By censoring him and any jokes that refer to gay people, you are doing almost exactly what it is that the bully’s and anti-gay people are doing. And yes, you can tell racist jokes and not be hateful. George Lopez talks about mexicans, Chris Rock talked about blacks, and any drag queen makes fun of homosexuals and the whole gay community. But look at Lisa Lapinelli. She tells racist jokes all the time. It doesn’t make her a bigot.

    I can’t remember where I read it, but I once seen that comedians are social commentators, often using taboo subjects in a humorous manner to help break the tension on that subject, and to help expose people to it.

    I think some people are too quick to jump on the hate wagon.
    (And yes, I understand there is a lot of coverage of recent gay suicides, but like it or not, suicides are going to happen, whether gay, straight, etc. The best thing we can do is try to prevent the real bullys from making life harder, and to help support those that may be at risk, not attacking comedians for using terms that are no longer solely targeting homosexuals. )

  13. Ernesto says

    While watching movie trailers at the AMC theater on Broadway and 68th on Tues night, Oct. 12th the gay electric car bit had still not been removed from the trailer.

  14. Bryant says

    Using a derogatory term, no matter how “funny” it might appear to be, is not a valid excuse. And bringing us together? What the hell is he talking about? Shut up Vince. Another celebrity talking out of their ass is not helping things here.

    But the person I really want to see an apology from is Ron Howard. I thought he was better than this. I am very disappointed.

  15. says

    Too bad there really is no gay mafia in Hollywood. Too bad Vince won’t have to wonder if every dish or drink he gets served in this town was delivered by someone gay, SO gay, or really pissed off gay. What DID that waiter mean by “Enjoy your meal” as he left the table…

  16. TANK says

    “I can’t remember where I read it, but I once seen that comedians are social commentators, often using taboo subjects in a humorous manner to help break the tension on that subject, and to help expose people to it.”

    Horse shit. Comedy can be social commentary, but that’s merely a means to the purpose: the laugh. That’s all it’s about–not lifting us up as people, or showing us our flaws, or anything like that. Comedy is about the laugh, and comedians and writers, for the most part, don’t care about what you’re laughing at so long as you’re laughing. Some of them are actually racists, homophobes, and bigots…and others have made careers out of affirming the social norms of injustice and inequality by catering to people who believe it in their acts. They aren’t trying to change the world…go to any comedy club, and if there’s a person getting laughs…nine out of ten times, the audience is laughing AT HIM. He is the joke. People love to laugh, and the best way to get people to laugh is at someone or something else’s expense…it’s put something down to put someone else UP. Truly gifted comedians will get you to laugh at them, but in doing so…you’re laughing at yourself. A truly gifted comedian will make fun of the audience and the audience will laugh at the insults…

    What you find is funny is a lot like what you find sexually arousing–you have very little control over it.

    This, however, is shit…and this is politics, motherfucker, not comedy. I don’t give a shit about a comedians “artistic license” when kids are killing themselves over this kind of shit. I’m glad pressure was put on them to self censor.

  17. Jared says

    I actually agree with Vince. As a very gay and out man, I am gonna take the oppertunity to say SAK UP to all you guys taking this a bit too seriously. Joking about these things puts it out there and sparks the unlight candle. So what if its offensive? Look at Bill mahr, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler and Margaret Cho. They’ll tell you straight up to blow em. To end it all. Fuck em if they can’t take a joke. Peace

  18. jexer says

    If the character uttering the slur harms their standing with the people around them by using the slur, I say let it stand.

    If the character (not the actor) is rewarded for using the slur, then it’s offensively inappropriate.

  19. David in Houston says

    So if the joke in the movie was, “Only n#ggers buy electric cars.” That would break the tension and bring people together?

    I think Vince Vaughn is more concerned that his mammoth collection of gay jokes is going to be off limits. — The reality is, context is everything. The context of this joke was that gay equals stupid or lame. How that brings people together is anyone’s guess.

    By the way, when did straight people get a say in what gay people find offensive? As a white guy, I don’t speak for the black community when it comes to derogatory terms that they find offensive. So how is this different?

  20. Chip says

    Jexer has it. The joke is only funny if the *real* joke is that that character making the joke is a childish douche.

    In this same vein, I think calling Electric Cars “Jewy” is hilarious, if and only if we’re laughing at how ridiculous/sad it is for someone to be that racist.

  21. Brian says

    Humor may well be subjective, Mr. Vaughn, but hatred is not. And humor that promotes hatred is simply not funny.

  22. says

    Well I’ll tell you what Vince, rewrite that joke so it says that electric cars are for N*****s and see how well it plays then.

  23. Trevor says

    i am tired of the excuse that “young people do it so its okay be me”! just because some moron youth doesnt instantly understand the association they are making by calling stupid shit gay, doesnt mean that the gay kid beside him is equally as in the dark about what those words actually mean. there is a reason kids say things are gay when they mean stupid, its because we as adults, who should be leading by example, ALLOW IT TO CONTINUE. i have had this convesation with alot of people who call dumb things gay, i say this ” if you dont mean any harm to gay people by saying it, and i am telling you as a gay person that it causes harm WHY DO YOU CONTINUE?” the usual response is ’cause i can,’ which shows a total lack of sensativity etc. i get the same response out of people who say racist jokes, but act like its ok cause they have a racialy diverse friend group. its bogus. my mom said it best at work to a co worker who had just called something stupid gay ” so do you mean thats gay like my son would like it?” he obviously felt like a total ass, as he should.

  24. bobbyjoe says

    “whatever those differences may be.”

    Anybody notice that Vaughn can’t say the word “gay” in his defense of the joke, while he has no trouble in saying the word “gay” in the joke itself?

    In other words, why does Vaughn pretend this is all about the vaguest, most generalized “bullying”? This incident is specifically about anti-gay words and anti-gay bullying. Vaughn tries to turn this into “we all have our differences” crap. Well, no, Vince; it’s about some people having anti-gay bigoted views and some people being the victims of those views. It’s not Kumbaya, let’s bring both sides together; it’s about telling hateful bigots and their enablers to knock it the f*ck off. Vaughn is starting to sound like the g*dd*mned Washington Post.

    “Where does it stop?” asks Vaughn.

    Yeah, Vince, that’s what WE’RE asking.

  25. LG Wilson says

    Notice Jewish screenwriter Allan Loeb has no problem writing a gay slur but would never write something was ‘so jewey’.
    Slamming gays seems to be the last refuge for bigoted groups who should no better.

  26. Chad says

    Well he has always been a scumbag and violent and I would say defending this and not even uttering the word gay makes him an asshole. The worst line was in my favorite movie,the executive scum who released the Hangover should not have included “paging doctor F*gg*t”. That was disgusting.

  27. Matthew says

    I enjoy Quentin Tarantino films and his scripts use the ‘n’ word. I don’t see why this is much different.

  28. Vince In Weho says

    I agree with 1fanboy2many. If it was an actually funny joke, then I have no problem with it. But, if that’s your lead-in to the trailer … sheesh … this movie is setting the bar low. But, I would like to see Winona Ryder make a comeback. I find the lack of using her in the trailer more offensive than the electric car joke. I guess she didn’t get a lot of good lines.

  29. Rowan says

    Matthew you’re being stupid on purposes.

    Tarintos films have black hood guys using the word with their other white hood friends, who are all part of the same scene. Furthermore, they are all in a ghetto, so when Pesci says the n word, he means it exactly as he is supposed to be saying it.

    This isn’t a film about gays or the gay hood or someone deliberately being homophobic, instead it’s a stupid bad movie about someone using the slur gay as a derogatory name but pretending that it is not.

    The bottom line is that it is like using the work k*ke or n*gga like it’s a throw away insult.

    The worst thing is that this is used everyday in society but you would not be able to do the same with those words.

  30. Tim says

    There was a time when all these words referenced WERE used on a regular basis in society. Kids, adults, everyone was able to utter them. That only stopped because people that were offended by them (and rightly so) said “ENOUGH”. Thinking we have no power to change societal ways says we have no respect for ourselves. Why does anyone, especially anyone reading this site, think it’s ok to allow this kind of language to continue? After decades of apathy, we are finally part of a time of change. Be a part of it, not someone holding the remote control on the sofa.

  31. Martin Murray says

    Vaughn’s excuse does not wash. Using ‘gay’ to mean ‘crap’ does not ‘bring us together’.

    I want to know what Vaughn’s lesbian co-star Queen Latifah thinks of the joke.

  32. Darlinkula says

    Why is no one outraged at the Katy Perry song titled,”That’s So Gay”? She was celebrated when she released the song,”I Kissed A Girl” but then she went on to write a derogatory Twitter post about drag queens. Vince Vaughn is no better than Katy Perry. P.S. Thanks for posting Vaughn’s address, I plan on sending a letter objecting to his defending HATE!

  33. says

    What he should have said:

    Electric cars are gay.
    Gayest in the best way.
    With creativity and ingenuity,
    they blend masculinity and femininity.

  34. princely54 says

    Well, Vince just dug his hole deeper. But, on the other hand it’s simply a bad joke at a time when people are sick and tired of being the butt of bad jokes.

    Honestly, I saw the preview a couple of weeks ago and wondered why in the hell Ron Howard was making this dog. I completely forgot about it until this controversy kicked up. It looks as funny as a Katherine Heigl rom-com, which is NOT a compliment. Other than this controversy it will be forgotten come the Sunday of the weekend its released.

  35. rjp3 says

    Vince Vaughn is a famous very sick man.
    He is an alcoholic – and that is tied into his inability to deal with his very strong attraction to men.

    I have been to dinner with the best friend of one of his ex-girlfiends. She caught him in bed with a man – and spilled the beans.

    Thus the drinking, loss of looks, and defending of gay jokes — and the recent child bride in his advanced age.

  36. Fenrox says

    You guys are lame. “That’s so gay does not directly result in gay kids killing themselves and to say so is to use some really shitty tactics to exploit gay kid deaths.

    A MUCH better response to the “That’s so gay” problem were the videos that celebrities did.

    How many of you want to say “That’s retarded”? Just as offensive, even though you have NOTHING against the retarded. I mean clearly the joke is in bad taste but it’s harmless assholery.

    Also the curmudgeon is a classic joke model, so showing someone being really uncomfortable around gay people can totally be funny and not offensive.

    The problem with anti-gay bulling is way more nuanced than this. Start with the BIG THREATS and when those have been worked out, I bet you will see very few jokes like this, because people wont think to make them anymore. Going after the little things first is an ass-backwards way to go.

  37. wimsy says

    Hate speech has consequences. It is certainly not harmless to use “gay” as a pejorative that halfwit thugs will interpret in their tiny bigoted brains to mean that slugging and tormenting gay people is just fine. Hate speech from the pulpit has resulted in any number of beatings and murders, to the point that even the clueless pope tried to stop it. Hate speech — and “harmless” jokes –were used to great effect in the late 30s in Germany, and helped delay civil rights progress in this country for decades.

  38. gregv says

    “By censoring him and any jokes that refer to gay people…”
    I’ve heard no one suggest that all jokes referring to gay people should be censored. The thing is, how can this even be called a “joke?” It’s the use of a word referring to the identity of gay people to demean. There’s no wit or humor in that. We already know that there is no context in the movie to save the line (otherwise they would have said so in their public statements), but even if there were, to put it in the trailer with no context except to use the word “gay” to demean is what is the problem.

    “…you can tell racist jokes and not be hateful.”

    Of course you can. But they need to have a context that works in some way other than to demean.

    As other posters have said, it’s not funny to simply say that something you hate is gay or Jewy or “for n#ggers.” When George Lopez jokes about Mexicans he doesn’t simply use the word Mexican as a synonym for lame or disgusting.

    I’ve had friends who used the word “Jew” in exactly the same way, and I lectured them on how offended I was. “We have nothing against Jews. When we say Jewish we just mean gross, stupid and lame,” is what they would say.
    I don’t care what they mean. If they mean gross or lame or boring, then they should use those words, not apply a word refering to people’s identity to associate with all things bad.
    There is nothing wity or clever or funny in using words that way.

    “I can’t remember where I read it, but I once seen that comedians are social commentators, often using taboo subjects in a humorous manner to help break the tension on that subject, and to help expose people to it.

    Yes, and I don’t think any of us would have a problem with this line if it were used to do that as similar lines were used by Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets.

    “…like it or not, suicides are going to happen…”

    Thousands of them don’t have to happen. Nobody kills himself or gets killed because he’s left-handed anymore, and that’s because society became more educated, talked about the issue, got over it, and stopped demeaning left-handed people. We could live in a world where no one ever dies because of anti-gay prejudice, but we have to ,move in the direction of bringing attention to that prejudice and making it no longer accepted.

  39. Aron says

    I agree that the pejorative use of “gay” is disturbing but it is wrong to try and censor a filmmaker because we are offended by something in a film. This isn’t China or the USSR for God’s sake. We can try and use it to start a dialogue and even shame the filmmaker or actor (who didn’t even write the line so I’m not sure why people are all up on Vaughn’s shit about it). But calling for it’s censure is completely un-American and douchey.

  40. Leonard says

    @Aron, Is the federal government censuring the film? I didn’t think so.

    It’s been said before, but needs to be reiterated, using the word gay to describe something stupid or lame is only fostering a societal environment in which being “gay” is reinforced as lame or “stupid.” If you want to demean something then use the correct word, don’t tie a person’s identity to something you want to express distaste or hate for. That’s bigotry, whether you realize it or not.

    And yes racial jokes can be funny, but only in context.

    Example (for those who are too slow to understand racial humor):

    Michael Richards vs. Lisa Lampenelli

    Both comedians told (in Lisa’s case, routinely tells) a racial joke. One was universally panned by the media, while the other sells out concert halls and regularly appears on Comedy Central Roasts. Context is key.

    The movie’s joke only reinforces a culture that regulates being gay to something to be ashamed of or looked at as distasteful.

  41. B-RAD says


  42. FRANK says

    First of all the joke is not offensive to me, even though I am gay. I get it, electric cars are effeminate men, because while they resemble more powerful vehicles visually, they lack the masculine aggressive qualities that sets them apart from, say, a sports car. Not that funny, but I get what they’re saying. It is very dangerous to restrict free speech, and organizations like GLAAD are only strengthening a scary and blossoming ultra-PC world of censorship and eggshell-walking. We need to step back and realize that it is more important that we preserve freedom of expression. As gay people I’m sure we have all heard more offensive comments than that joke. I think we should try to have a sense of humor about it (it would help if the joke was actually funny, but we can’t protest that). It is the same lack of humor that many Christians have about things being “offensive” to a group of people. Either way, it is incredible how fat Vince Vaughn got.

  43. says

    My friend and I have made a response video to Vince Vaughn and Ron Howard that you may find enjoyable:
    It’s called “That’s so Vince Vaughn’s Mother’s Pussy.”
    Hope you enjoy.

  44. says

    i agree with Vince – this is stupid to be outraged over and there are tons of other films where they say things like this. Look at 40 year old virgin. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan used the “you know how I know you’re gay?” joke throughout the film – no outrage. It was funny, and as a gay man I laughed and was not offended because the context was not hateful.

    It’s cool to be on the anti-bullying bandwagon now but when you give these words extra attention they become even stronger.

    @Robert – it’s exactly like the South Park episode.