Comments

  1. MrRoboto says

    The difference is as plain as day. In “The Dilemma,” Vince Vaughn’s character was the hero. From scene one, he was the guy you were supposed to be rooting for. He used the term “gay” in a derogatory way and this was supposed to be shorthand to demonstrate that he hadn’t grown up yet. Did he grow up in the end? Maybe. Did he demonstrate contrition for using “gay” in such a way? No.

    In “Horrible Bosses,” Jennifer Aniston is a villain. From the first scene. She’s someone who’s so offensive that hero of the film wants his fellow friends to kill her.

    The difference is as plain as day to me.

  2. Jesus says

    “It seems to me that Goldstein and his team have the right idea: using an anti-gay epithet to convey to the audience, quite explicitly, that this character is indeed horrible, and so too are others who use the dreaded F-word.”

    But isn’t this supposed to be a comedy? This isn’t American History X. If you want to get people to think and push boundaries and buttons, perhaps one should consider the context before diving head-first into it. Frankly, I find it offensive that Aniston would agree to use such language, and the “explanation” proffered by the director is less of an explanation than it is an excuse, in my opinion.

    We can debate the who, what, when, and where of the word, but when it comes down to it, if I’m enjoying an otherwise funny movie and I hear that kind of language used, especially in a theater full of laughing people, I’m probably not going to be saying to myself “Oh, gee, the director sure knows how to convey his point about this character!”

    If you want to show her being an “irredeemable” person, I’m sure there are smarter ways to do it.

  3. MLH says

    It’s a comedy, but a dark one. I have no problem with it. Jenn A. has always played the good girl, which makes it even more effective. If my boss used the word, I’d pour sugar in his gas tank. It’s an expensive gas tank.

  4. AdamA says

    These things always get the benefit of the doubt from me. Context in comedy (and in most art forms) is everything, and there are few, if any, words that have no conceivable use.

  5. TyN says

    The use of gay and faggot in these movies is no less offensive than hearing n*gger, ch*nk, sp*c, or r*tard in movies. Are we going to start blasting all movies that use offensive language? Real people say harsh words, and in films there are characters that portray these types of people. Choose your battles.

  6. K says

    That’s not “explicit”. This would be: in the next scene, have that character say something like “Anyone who uses that word/talks like that deserves what’s coming, etc.” Easy fix.

  7. Stan says

    I also wonder if the reaction would have been more negative if a person of color, say an African-American, had said the word.

    They have the right to put into their movie, but I’m glad to know they say the word so I can avoid it altogether.

  8. Really? says

    It boils down to whether or not the employee she calls a faggot is a gay or straight character. My bet is that the character is straight–since these stupid buddy comedies never feature a sympathetic gay character. If so, Aniston’s character is only reprehensible for emasculating a straight man by calling him gay. Completely different from calling a gay man a faggot.

  9. Tom says

    This doesn’t offend me in the slightest. It isn’t Jennifer Aniston using the word, but a character she is playing. If the name of the movie was “FAGGOT” then, yeah, get offended by it. People are just putting way too much energy into this word. It is an ugly, awful word but the movie is a comedy and she is playing a.. you guessed it! HORRIBLE BOSS. Besides, this movie has too many things going for it.. Charlie Day and Jason Bateman being the main draw for me. Comedy, once upon a time, pushed the envelope and boundaries. I happen to enjoy my comedy in its crudest and most un-PC form.

  10. Bruno says

    Did anyone care about the “fags” joke in The Hangover? Seems like that film isn’t getting all this attention, and it was much worse than this or the Ron Howard film.

  11. Jesus says

    “The use of gay and faggot in these movies is no less offensive than hearing n*gger, ch*nk, sp*c, or r*tard in movies. Are we going to start blasting all movies that use offensive language? Real people say harsh words, and in films there are characters that portray these types of people. Choose your battles.”

    According to recent numbers, about 81% of leading roles in movies are Caucasian males. Not only do we have to deal with ethnically-selective casting and white-washing in movies, but minority groups also have to constantly deal with misrepresentation and defamation not only in the public, but in media as well. This isn’t to say that people can’t say the word, but considering the context, the cast, and the times we live in, you need a better explanation than what I’ve heard so far. If you don’t think it deserves an explanation, fine. But take responsibility for it, and don’t expect me to swallow that pill for you.

  12. Chris says

    The explanation from the film makers of “The Dilemma” was that the character’s use of the word “gay” was meant to show that, although he was lovable, he was also clueless and socially awkward.

    There is a pretty thin line between that and the use of “faggot” in “Horrible Bosses”. If you allow characters to use derogatory language as shorthand for character development, it should work in every case.

    Perhaps the real distinction is that the line in “The Dilemma” was still played for laughs, even though it was used for a similar purpose as the line in “Bad Bosses”.

  13. ggreen says

    This post seems like a Bilerico tin foil hat “think” piece to me. WTF is it saying? I don’t have a clue. Is it condemning the F-word or advertising the movie?

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    There should be no censoring of language in movies, books, theater, etc. Radio and television are slightly more complicated because of public access.

    And, yes, I’m talking about any offensive language–if it is appropriate for a character to say it, or it’s essential for the author to get her message across. For instance, anyone who tries to delete (or replace) the word “n.gger” from Huckleberry Finn should be deleted (or replaced) from the planet Earth.

  15. Bill says

    Listening to heterosexuals defend their use of the word faggot in ANY context is sickening.

    Notice, it’s always ‘faggot’ that they choose. Always. It’s never another derogatory word for any other group of people.

    I swear, they’ve got a faggot-reflext programmed into them by the time they are 12.

    But don’t defend it. Don’t justify it in any way – because there exists no justification that leaves anyone looking anything other than ignorant and crass and classless.

    Jennifer Anniston should know better. And she has the star power to get a word removed from the script. Believe that.

    It just appears that heterosexuals could care less about the millions of gay citizens that they degrade in their immature, classless attempts to degrade other heterosexuals.

    Very disappointing, Anniston. Very disappointing.

  16. Wayne says

    I wish my life was so perfect that the only thing I had to complain about was a movie that uses the term “faggot” one time. You guys need to, seriously, get a life, or at least join reality. There are a lot bigger problems facing the world, and our own communities, than a character in a movie using a word that you don’t like. If your skin is that think then I suggest you see a doctor… or a shrink. Jeez.

  17. Larry says

    We can always seem to get ourselves in a lather when the word “faggot” is used in a movie, but we couldn’t mobilize ourselves to defeat Prop 8 in California or many of the other anti-equality measures around the country. What does that say?

  18. gayalltheway says

    Context, context, context, guys.
    I do agree sometimes that we are becoming overly sensitive and we call out everyone who uses the word without considering the context that it is being used.
    Why do we apply a double standard when it comes to who can use the word? Like only blacks are allowed to use the n-word and gays are allowed to use the f-word. i.e. Dan Savage was on Keith Olbermann’s show the other day and he referred himself as a “musical faggot”. Bill Maher uses the word on his show to make fun of homophobic conservatives and we are OK with that since no one ever calls him out on it.
    Would it be any different if instead of the f-word that they change it to “homo” or “queer”? If so, why is it different?
    Censorship is never the solution in our fight for equality.
    This only shows that we, as a community, is “weak” and whiny and goes after everyone who dares to use the f-word.

  19. LAX/JFK says

    I work in entertainment. I guarantee you that no one would have allowed her to call a Jewish person a word that rhymes with Mike. NEVER.

    They still use this ‘f’ word because in America’s mind, it has not risen to the level of vitriol equated with the ‘n’ or ‘k’ words.

  20. Jesus says

    Privilege is telling others when their offense is warranted and their opinions are necessary. I, for one, would rather continue the conversation than just shut up about it. If we don’t talk about this stuff, we will never resolve it. And it can be resolved. If the objective of the director really was to stir controversy and make people talk about issues like this,then it seems to be working!

    A lot of what I am reading here is “I’m not offended, why should you be?”, and the expectation again is on the person offended to provide an explanation. Who is calling for the word to be banned or censored? I have a history with that word and it’s not pretty, so when I talk about it, I am coming from a very painful place, but if someone is going to tell me I can’t be offended or to get over it, my initial reaction is probably going to be to tell you to go fornicate yourself because it’s infuriating to have other people tell you that they know more about your own life experience than you do.

    But hey, that’s privilege!

    Unfortunately, I get the feeling that a lot of people are here more for Lady Gaga posts and male model fixes than an actual conversation, but hey, we try.

  21. says

    I dont think its ok.

    But all in all, context says more than anything else. Is she calling a straight employee the F word, therefore telling moviegoers that calling someone gay is the worst offense ever, therefore she is a bad boss. Or is she calling a gay employee the F word thereby saying to moviegoers she hates diversity? THESE ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT SCENARIOS!!!

  22. chad says

    NY just won marriage, fights in other states continue. The oceans are acidifying. We are getting old. Cars still dominate transportation. Women still make less than men. Monkeys are still flinging poo. Our majestic parks are cutting services and hours on a state and national scale. Teachers are being vilified. Governors are like cyborgs for Target. Can we drop this discussion like a hot rock?

  23. Stef says

    Ok, so I get a little bit of the animosity, but… how come no one got involved when the Hangover came out and there’s the part where he goes “paging Doctor Faggot. Doctor Faggot”.

    It’s a movie. Unfortunately, that word is in the English vernacular. It’s going to be used because it’s again, unfortunately, part of the current culture. When my best friend came out, I actively, ACTIVELY made an effort to stop using the word “gay” as in “that’s so gay”. I’d use lame instead. He noticed. And asked me why I stopped saying it. I said I didn’t want to insult him or make him think being gay was a bad thing or that I ever associated it with being a bad thing. I never did, and when I used to say something was “gay” I never attached it to BEING a gay person, or sexual orientation. He was pissed and said “I still use the word gay, why wouldn’t you?”

    I think while a lot of people still connect the two, “gay” as in sexuality and “that’s so gay” are separating a lot. I think faggot is a much stornger word, but I feel like a lot of people are on that level as well. I don’t think when people say fag or faggot they are directly referencing sexuality or people who are gay.

    I understand it’s still touchey and has the connection and insult, but in this case, it’s a movie. Movies show murderers and rapists and liars and bank robbers…. it’s a movie.

    As for the whole hero vs. villain. How many movies have you watched where a guy who killed tons of people ends up being a hero? C’mon…

  24. Craig Mingus says

    Reading the comments makes me just cringe. This country is BASED on the Freedom of Speech and when we try to create censorship of a particular word that we do not like, then we switch from a democracy to a dictatorship. Aren’t there better things to whine about than being called a “faggot”. Seriously?!

    Can’t you all remember the saying, “Sticks and stones may breaks my bones but names WILL NEVER hurt me.”?

  25. Mike says

    Jennifer Aniston shouldn’t be given any greif about that word she has been lovely to gay people as long as I can remember her. She’s playing a horrible person in this movie.

  26. Gregoire says

    Yeah, I think Jen has common sense to know the proper context of an insensitive word. If she thought it was truly inappropriate, she would have told them to re-write the joke. She’s the biggest star in the film! Let’s give this a rest, please.

    Just consider this as though she killed an animal with her bare hands on film. Nobody condones it, but it demonstrates the awfulness of her character. You’ll have some sensitive types getting mad, but all in all, the situation in context works.

  27. Alan Arthur Chiras says

    “To shorthand that, we tried to think: what are the most offensive things they can say? Using a word like that I think is one of them. It says this woman is irredeemable.”

    Why didn’t they use the N*gg*r word instead. These producers ARE Anti-Gay.

  28. peterparker says

    @STEF: You sound like a great friend in your sensitivity toward your friend who came out of the closet. And I applaud your realization that using a phrase like “That’s so gay!” implies an association between ‘gay’ and ‘bad’. But I have to tell you that while your friend might not be bothered by the use of the word ‘gay’ as a synonym for ‘bad’, many of us in the GLBT community do find it offensive. In my opinion, it DOES perpetuate the oppression of the GLBT community when people use ‘gay’ as a stand in for ‘disappointing’, ‘pathetic’, ‘contemptible’, ‘lame’, ‘uncool’, ‘stupid’, etc…

    @CRAIG MINGUS: This is NOT a freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech means only one thing: that the GOVERNMENT cannot censor an individual’s words. Freedom of speech does not protect an actress from the animosity of the public if she says something offensive (whether on film or in real life).

  29. Mark says

    ugh. Get over it.

    A. It’s a movie
    B. It happens in real life so why can’t it be portrayed?
    C. Should we get rid of all offensive language and/or jokes in movies? relax.
    D. Hybrids ARE kinda gay. (yes I have one!)

  30. Mike says

    BULL! There are many other words to use to find someone ugly. Young gay kids do NOT need to hear people laughing at that word in the cinema.

  31. Tony says

    Many of you are saying, oh it’s just a movie; get over it. Don’t worry about it. It’s not that bad.

    Isn’t it REALLY SAYING that now we can show justification for KILLING someone in a movie, because they called me a ‘faggot’!

    Isn’t this the MAIN DEFENSE behind all of these gay panic defense killings going on, ie. Lawrence King by Brandon McInerney. Well, he was a faggot, and he was coming on to me so “I HAD to kill him”. There wasn’t anything else I could do.

    Now we can let the movies justify this by letting them use it as a quick way to BUILD ANGER in order to commit murder, according to all of you.

    Well said people! Just glad that I was raised differently in this world and have a rational mind of my own, with the ability to know that just because something was alright in the past; it doesn’t make it alright now.

  32. Francis says

    I’m 50-50 about this. She is the villain, the one that is looked down upon, but at the same time, to use the f-word to send that message across, isn’t really appropriate. There are other words that can be used just the same. The f-word is historically connected to homosexuality and still is used against gay people and those bigots assume as gay. So until that changes, which is never, saying that the word isn’t an anti-gay slur is false. And that ultimately is the issue at hand, here.

  33. MrRoboto says

    For what it’s worth, if you’ve seen the extended trailer, check out Colin Farrell’s character, who lashes out at overweight people (he wants Jason Bateman to fire a pregnant woman because she’s too fat), and he wants him to fire a wheelchair-bound man (because he gets to sit all day and it’s not fair to others).

    There’s not just one group that might come away from this movie offended by the horrible bosses.

  34. stefystef says

    I could go into the whole thing about people being OVER SENSITIVE about a mediocre comedy with Jennifer Aniston. I won’t bore you.

    Instead, I will say without hesitation or regret:

    Electric cars are GAY!

    There. I said it. And everyone knows it is true. *LOL*

  35. Andrew says

    Allow me to be devil’s advocate for a moment: how would you all feel if someone desired that a gay character reference was deleted from a movie because it isn’t family friendly?

    I know you’ll say it’s different because it isn’t offensive, but we do not get to define what offensive speech is when included in works of art (yes, movies are art)— in fact the moment we begin to do so, we are no better than are enemies that try to delete us from history.

    Whether you like it or not, you are censoring the work of an artist, and something that happens in real life. Despite wanting to ‘protect’ the young, can’t we support them instead? Or is that too much work, and we’d rather just have it not said at all so we don’t have to explain it?

  36. Paul R says

    One of my brothers is incredibly gay friendly and likely bisexual. He calls things gay all the time; it’s just something he’s used to doing and always has. He goes to gay bars with me and is supremely comfortable around gay men, and they him. I’m a writer and editor who corrects other people’s words for a living and am incredibly PC.

    I’ve never bothered to correct him because I know he only says it to me and I don’t care to censor my best friend. My other three brothers are nearly rednecks, but they all walk on eggshells around me because I’m gay and have exploded at them perhaps twice in my life about unrelated issues. But it was volcanic and now they’re scared of me. I’d rather have an honest conversation than a fake one. People say fag, faggot, or gay in real life all the time (aside from my three oldest brothers, around me). Not all movies are G rated.

    If a character is shown to be worthy of death, it’s highly unlikely people will think her word choices are worthy of copying.

  37. Tatas says

    Well, Aniston did use the word “retard” on tv in real life and never apologized for that. So, expecting any sensitivity out of her is funny. And, you can develop a character without using the word gay or faggot. It’s called ACTING. Aniston and her ilk should try it sometime.

  38. ralph says

    I have read reviews of this movie, and her character does not come across as the villain at all. In fact, she is described as a “heterosexual male’s dream”. If they did use faggot, it is because you can’t use the other words anymore and get away with it. Why should the gay community always be so understanding? As for Anniston, what has she ever done to receive an award?

  39. MadM@ says

    I can’t really get my dander up over this- the way I’m seeing it, the movie is a black comedy much in the same vein as Heathers, which is another movie that slung the term “fag” around and used homophobia in the same way to portray characters as unsympathetic.

    The debate on whether the person being called faggot is actually gay or not is moot. Homophobia is a disgusting thing that operates on the perception of the homophobic person. If JA is calling someone a faggot to be demeaning, isn’t it possible that it’s setting her up as an unsympathetic person because she has it in her head that to be gay is to be bad?

    And as far as censorship for being offended… it is a very slippery slope and next we will be the ones being censored by “family” groups because using the word gay is offensive to their precious children’s freakin’ ears, or a man will be offended because he had a history of sexual abuse from a same-sex relative.

    This is coming from someone that does have a history with the word faggot and negative connotations…which I would be surprised if anyone on this site would say “gee, I just loved being called a faggot when growing up”

  40. AJ says

    Umm, the movie is called “Horrible Bosses”. Lighten up. Clearly her character is awful and this is a dark comedy. If it was called “Wonderful Bosses” and she was the hero I would be concerned. Frankly, I am looking forward to see her in a role that isn’t typecast for her.

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