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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.”


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  1. David in Houston,
    You nailed it on both points. Thanks.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Oct 14, 2010 9:58:11 PM

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

    Posted by: Brian | Oct 14, 2010 9:59:25 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: Sean | Oct 14, 2010 11:58:16 PM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: Trevor | Oct 15, 2010 12:01:10 AM

  5. vince vaughn needs to stfu before he gets in deeper.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 15, 2010 12:01:13 AM

  6. "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.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Oct 15, 2010 12:32:34 AM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: LG Wilson | Oct 15, 2010 12:40:59 AM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: Chad | Oct 15, 2010 1:00:38 AM

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

    Posted by: Matthew | Oct 15, 2010 1:14:36 AM

  10. 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.

    Posted by: Vince In Weho | Oct 15, 2010 1:57:10 AM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: Rowan | Oct 15, 2010 3:10:53 AM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: Tim | Oct 15, 2010 4:02:44 AM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: Martin Murray | Oct 15, 2010 5:58:21 AM

  14. 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!

    Posted by: Darlinkula | Oct 15, 2010 6:19:39 AM

  15. What he should have said:

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

    Posted by: Philo | Oct 15, 2010 8:06:58 AM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: princely54 | Oct 15, 2010 8:29:13 AM

  17. 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.

    Posted by: rjp3 | Oct 15, 2010 9:04:49 AM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 15, 2010 9:28:29 AM

  19. There is nothing offensive about that line. People are offended because they want to be.

    Posted by: Ted | Oct 15, 2010 10:00:28 AM

  20. 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.

    Posted by: wimsy | Oct 15, 2010 10:45:06 AM

  21. "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.

    " 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.

    " 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.

    Posted by: gregv | Oct 15, 2010 11:01:34 AM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: Aron | Oct 15, 2010 11:43:37 AM

  23. @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.

    Posted by: Leonard | Oct 15, 2010 11:40:25 PM


    Posted by: B-RAD | Oct 16, 2010 3:37:20 PM

  25. b-rad=angry black. Shaddup, you! This is worse than slavery! Deal!

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 16, 2010 3:47:27 PM

  26. « | 1 2 3 »

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