Public objections to the pejorative use of the word “gay” in the trailer for Ron Howard’s upcomg movie The Dilemma from Anderson Cooper and GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has prompted Universal Studios to remove the offensive scene from the trailer.
The original preview featured star Vince Vaughn speaking the line: “Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars … are gay. I mean not homosexual gay, but you know, my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay.”
CNN anchor Cooper, 43, and the gay rights campaigners blasted the reference on Friday, arguing that using the word “gay” as a slur helps fuel the homophobic attitudes that have contributed to the suicides of at least five teens across the US in recent months. Tolerance, bullying and insensitivity toward gays have been major topics of discussion in the wake of the suicide last month of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate allegedly streamed video online of him having sex with another man.
“I was sitting in a movie theater over the weekend and there was a preview of a movie, and in it, the actor said, ‘that’s so gay,’ and I was shocked that not only that they put it in the movie, but that they thought that it was okay to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it,” Cooper said during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday.
“I just find those words, those terms – we’ve got to do something to make those words unacceptable because those words are hurting kids,” fumed Anderson, who will host a town hall meeting on the bullying epidemic in America later this month.
“Someone else I talked to recently said that the words people use and the things people say about other kids online, it enters into their internal dialogue. When you’re a kid, it can change the way you see yourself and the way you think about yourself – the worth that you give to yourself. I think we really need to focus on what language we’re using and how we’re treating these kids.”
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios concurred, chiming in that: “The use of the word ‘gay’ in this trailer as a slur is unnecessary and does nothing more than send a message of intolerance about our community to viewers.”
The studio has since announced that the controversial joke will be removed from promotional campaigns from this point forward, including in the trailer currently playing in theaters.
“The teaser trailer for ‘The Dilemma’ was not intended to cause anyone discomfort. In light of growing claims that the introduction to the trailer is insensitive, it is being replaced. A full trailer, which has been in the works for some time, will post online later today,” Universal said in a statement issued Friday.
The Dilemma – - slated to hit theaters in Jan. 2011 — also stars Kevin James, Queen Latifah, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly, and Channing Tatum.