Responding in writing to questions posed by Times columnist Patrick Goldstein, Howard explained that the line needs to be understood in the context of the movie and Vaughn’s character. Writes Howard: “I believe in sensitivity but not censorship. I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative characterizations and language. It is a slight moment in The Dilemma meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it.” Howard did say he believed Universal made the “appropriate” decision in removing the line from the film’s original trailer.Director Ron Howard has told the Los Angeles Times that he will not remove a controversial joke using the word “gay” from his forthcoming Vince Vaughn comedy The Dilemma.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which protested the inclusion of the “gay” line in The Dilemma‘s trailer and called for its removal from the movie, issued a statement in response to Howard’s decision. “At a time when so many in our country are speaking out against the bullying of gay youth, Universal was right to acknowledge the offensive nature of this ‘joke’ when it removed it from trailers,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Unfortunately, by leaving it in the movie, they are now contributing to the problem. The conversations started as a result of the community’s response to this slur will help schools, media and parents understand the impact of the word ‘gay’ being used as a pejorative. Hopefully in the future, Universal and Ron Howard will recognize the power of their words and use their films to bring people together rather than drive us apart.”