Last week, Universal pulled Vince Vaughn’s “electric cars are gay” joke from The Dilemma trailer after Anderson Cooper criticized a misquoted version of the line in a discussion about gay bullying on Ellen. Then this week, GLAAD, who hadn’t said anything up to that point, piled on, starting an online petition to get the line pulled from the movie altogether. Today, Vince Vaughn, who just happened to be walking by eating an ice cream cone, gave his statement on the matter.
“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[?]” [Deadline]
Unnecessary slippery-slope argument at the end there aside, I have to agree with him. If it’s equality you’re after, gays are going to have to get teased and stereotyped in popular culture as much as straight white men. That just comes with being part of the conversation. You have to be able to differentiate between playful teasing for the purpose of humor and a guy yelling “f*g” and throwing a brick at your float. That said, it’s dangerous that Vince Vaughn is neglecting another important issue. Doing films with Kevin James divides us. It draws dividing lines between people who think that “fat-guy-dancing” shtick is still funny and those of us who were tired of it before Chris Farley died. It turns brother against brother, wife against husband, child against parent — a house divided against itself cannot stand. This Union cannot endure permanently half stupid Kevin-James-pants-falling-down-joke-loving and half intelligent. But I stand before you today to promise that if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.