With Trailer Edited, GLAAD Pressures Universal On ‘Dilemma’ Gay Scene

Vaughn GLAAD has upped the ante in its battle against Universal Pictures. The movie studio agreed last week to remove a "that's so gay" joke from the trailer of its upcoming comedy, The Dilemma.

Though GLAAD made a removal request more than a month ago, it only took a casual reference from Anderson Cooper to get the job done. Now GLAAD wants the joke removed entirely, and put up an online petition asking concerned citizens to voice their disapproval.

"Contact Universal Pictures and urge its representatives to remove offensive anti-gay language from the upcoming movie, The Dilemma. Tell them that phrases like 'that's so gay' are extremely damaging and contribute to putting young people in harm's way. Teen bullying is no joke," reads the petition. "Unfortunately the company has refused to agree to remove the scene in the movie before its January release date. Moreover, after promising to remove the anti-gay trailer, Universal has reportedly still not removed the trailer from theaters." The trailers have been changed online, and Universal insists it will switch out the in-theater previews next week.

Now, our dilemma: Do we pressure a movie studio to remove a joke from what sounds like an adult comedy — "A man discovers that his best friend's wife is having an affair." — or let people make the decision about whether or not they want to see the flick, directed by Ron Howard and starring Vince Vaughn and Winona Ryder?


  1. Caleb says

    Saw The Social Network last night and this ad previewed with the line. It’s actually the very first line of the preview. Ridiculous. I can’t believe anyone making that film thought that was a good idea.

  2. Fenrox says

    Good god GLAAD and HRC are just worthless. Just disband, take a year off and soulsearch. Then come back together and learn to be a more savvy less infuriating group. I mean Anderson Cooper can out do you in a single sentence. Shame on you guys!

  3. Andrew says

    Once again HRC completely misses the point. Maybe they’ll have another GALA so they can sit around and think about more BS things to bitch about. How about concentrating 100% of your time on DADT and DOMA instead of a movie that maybe 20 people will see?

  4. says

    Where is Vince’s reaction to this?

    We can do two things:
    First, we continue to make our feelings known and see if Universal responds. At the very least it should have a negative impact on ticket sales – something a VV movie can afford.

    Second, we can change the line to “That’s so Universal Pictures!”

  5. Bart says

    Seriously? This is what these organizations do…go after those hateful movie studios? We are so screwed if this is the fish that GLAAD wants to fry.

    This is socio-political masterbation.

  6. says

    “Now, our dilemma: Do we pressure a movie studio to remove a joke from what sounds like an adult comedy…”

    We can’t even “pressure” our gay friends to not use style sheets that cause eye irritation to most users over thirty. Such as Towleroad.

    Good luck pressuring a studio to edit a film that’s already out of post.

  7. Jonathan says

    One of the problems with making a movie about reprehensible people is that they have to do reprehensible things in that movie to establish that they are, in fact, reprehensible. I have no idea if Vince Vaughn’s character in this movie is supposed to be reprehensible, but that tends to be the type to which he plays. Showing that line in context to establish him as a bad person is perfectly reasonable, while showing it out of context with no understanding of who or what his character is is not. I think it’s time to move on about this one.

  8. justaguy says

    Gays should stop feeling obligated to pander to adultness (w/ logic like: it’s an adult movie and so it can include ANY adult things). Its almost like gays are so happy we are now ALLOWED to have sex that we think any sort of possibly-off-color thing should be ok.

    But f that. Anti-gay stuff even in adult movies really isn’t ok. Not sayin they don’t have a constitutional right to speak, but AM saying gays should feel no reason to not raise hell over it.

    Gays have every right to defend their own. Good for GLAAD. Over time I think this sort of thing makes a difference.

    I see big kahunas growin–now deliver :-).

  9. Joe says

    What is really disheartening about this story is that this is the first time I’ve heard GLAAD has been working on this. It just shows how powerless major Gay advocacy groups are. They get ignored and nobody cares. At all. It is sad to think that gay rights groups aren’t really seen as legitmate. I mean, Anderson Cooper just mentioned it and they removed it (with some outrage).

    Honestly, these groups need better campaign/communications directors. I don’t understand why the right is always able to blast their message far and wide and we can’t.

    While I like Ryder, I’ll make sure to boycott this one.

  10. jexer says

    The context in which Vince’s character uses the “ghey” comment is clearly inappropriate. If using the term gets a character in trouble… I say leave it in. If the character is rewarded for being ‘edgy’ and homophobic… take it out.

  11. rayrayj says

    We have movies about the 50’s and the 60s in which no one smokes, while in fact almost all men smoked, as did very many women. Groups want to remove Huckleberry Finn, because much of the language is considered offensive. I’d rather be offended occasionally than live in a sanitized monochromatic world.

  12. Wayne says

    Would you ever see a movie with the line “that’s so black”? or “that’s so mexican”? I don’t think so. The studio would never go down that road.

  13. Joe says

    @Wayne, they may never say “that’s so black” or “that’s so mexican” but there are a lot of ways they have coded it into film. Think about the best friend characters or the loud mouth black girl in films, or the groups of thugs and the drug addicted mother in “The Blind Side” specifically. That was all a way of saying “that’s so black.”

    It’s just like the “gay best friend” or “bitch queen” with the limp wrist we see in mediocre studio films (usually helping out their pretty white girl friend), we serve our purpose for heterosexuals, but beyond that not much.

    Studio films are horrendously racist/sexist/bigoted without ever actually saying it.

  14. SFNative says

    Acting by choosing not to watch this movie instead of pressuring the studio to remove the homophobic slur is essentially the same thing as letting a gay teenager commit suicide on your watch as you silently stand by. As Martin Luther King Jr. would say, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

  15. Keith says

    Personally, I think context matters in such discussions. A film that uses the slur to demonstrate the harm and damage caused by such language would not be censored, but a film that uses the remark in a flippant and derogatory manner does deserve education and feedback to those who produced it. I think that since they took this language out of the trailer, they should take it out of the film since it has no purpose and doesn’t diminish or alternatively change the definition of the character. It should seem obvious to the studio to take it out, as it’s akin to the “N” word in the greater culture. Use common sense to guide you, and you can rarely go wrong when it comes to such language usage.

  16. Caleb says

    RayRayJ: one point you fail to see is that censoring Huckleberry Finn is absurd because you are censoring the thoughts of men who lived and wrote 126 years ago. It’s quite different to ask those who make a film in 2010 to avoid using derogatory slurs for unnecessary shits and giggles. We’re not asking to re-write literature or history. We’re asking to think before such behavior is continued.

    I certainly agree with you that I don’t want to live in a world where we sterilize literature that’s been around over a century, but I think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask that we change our behavior today moving forward when it comes to these things.

  17. Tom Stoppard says

    Right. I want “That’s so gay” to go away. In ALL contexts. I don’t care if it’s said by a fictional character who gets their comeuppance or not. I don’t care if it adds “realism” to a film or if it helps us “learn” that homophobia is wrong. I want it gone. Period.

    It’s a hateful, homophobic statement and with the current spate of gay suicides it has no place in a civilised responsible society. Maybe when we have all grown up a bit – like in 100 years, we can revisit the situation. But for the moment, the majority of people are far too immature to be exposed to hateful statements like this and realise how harmful they are. Too many of them just end up copying it. Monkeys see. Monkeys do. We die.

    This is one great big windmill and I’m tilting it until it falls over. Then I’m going to dig a big whole and put it inside the hole and bury it.

    For Chrissakes, how many of you have to die before you realise what this is. It’s a war. We are in the minority to begin with. And we are losing numbers. The time for “play nice” and “give them the benefit of the doubt” is over. We need to start getting angry and refusing to make compromises. Boycott this dumb film. Make the careers of everyone who appeared in it suffer.

  18. ichabod says

    The community has to put its collective foot down and stop stuff like this across the board. It may seem like “nothing”, but such casual slights aggregate over time and make more egregious transgressions possible. We have to start somewhere…

  19. stop the hate says

    I am actually very pleased that a big deal is being made out of this, because the line explicitly contains an exoneration of the use of the word as “gay” to mean “embarrassingly and contemptibly pathetic” — when that practice is so fucking not cool and not OK. It never has been OK.

    This will raise awareness and consciousness in a way that is long overdue.

    And, by the way, shame, shame, shame, SHAME on Ron Howard. He should know better.

    I don’t know if GLAAD should be in any way faulted or blamed for not having the clout of a newsmaking, on-air comment by Anderson Cooper. I do wonder how otherwise, though, how they could increase their leverage to nip this kind of garbage in the bud.

    Wanda Sykes and others have been involved in a campaign to discourage the use of the word “gay” in the “The Dilemma” way, but the issue hasn’t gotten this much concentrated attention before. Again, LOOOOONNNGGG OVERDUE.

    Just a couple weeks ago Amy Poehler and Seth Myers on “Saturday Night Live” used “gay” in that way. It was obscene, particularly in light of the, um, suicide problem.

  20. Keith says


    While I appreciate your anger, and certainly understand your point of view, as someone who has spent their professional life studying literature, film and other forms of communication, to expect society to just forget or not use a particular expression is highly unrealistic. . .and is a form of censorship for which I can’t support. There truly are times when phrases such as “That’s so gay” can be used as “teachable moments” to others who don’t understand the negative connotations, associations and direct/indirect harms that such phrases create in the larger society. If you remove the phrase, I assure you someone will just find a substitute. I’d rather people understand the hatefulness of this phrase and just learn not to use it, then to get creative and find even worse forms of expression to convey the same thing. Language constantly evolves and changes, and eventually this phrase will fall out of favor, but it’ll take time and education to make that happen. . .although I must admit it would be interesting to see you go all Don Quixote on it.

  21. jamesintoronto says

    Where was GLAAD last summer when Bradley Cooper was yelling “paging Dr. Faggot” in The Hangover? The year’s biggest comedy had to rely on tired homophobic and racist humor and yet I didn’t hear too many people complaining. Vote with your dollars people. If our community and allies don’t show up to these movies the studios will start to take notice.

  22. says

    I agree with some people on here that yes GLAAD and HRC are basically losing whatever meaning they thought they ever thought. Never mind that they could not get the attention from Universal (showing us the ineptness of such organizations) but now the word “gay” is a slur now? In that case GLAAD is perpetuating “hatred” by using that same “slur” in its own name. Gay Inc, is falling apart, maybe for the better. Average gay people are more apt to defend themselves and do not need to attack a stupid movie to make themselves look important.

  23. Frederick says

    As someone who taught midddle school for 15-plus years, if I had a dime for every time I heard a student say “that’s so gay” (always in reference to something negative) I’d be a millionaire. Although I would stop students from using this phrase whenever I could, it (the phrase) was so pervasive it was almost impossible to stop students completely from using it. I always thought to myself, it would never be tolerated by teachers & administrators in a public school setting for a student to say “that’s so black, Jewish, Hispanic,Asian, etc; etc; yet it seemed perfectly acceptable to the majority of my fellow faculty members whenever a pupil said “that’s so gay”. I know that if hearing this phrase bothered me, as a gay adult, then certainly it must have really bothered any gay/lesbian students, since middle school is so peer-centered. Because of my experiences with this phrase, I signed the GLAAD petition regarding the use of this anti-gay language in this film…words are powerful and can contribute to low self-esteem, especially among adolescents. As a (LGBT) community, we’ve got to finally stand up and say this simply isn’t acceptable, and we won’t tolerate it any longer.

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