Vince Vaughn in The Dilemma

Activists in the US are calling for a Hollywood studio to remove an offensive scene from a new comedy film starring Vince Vaughn.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is taking on Universal Pictures over a scene in the Ron Howard film The Dilemma in which Vaughn uses the word “gay” as an insult.

In the scene the actor says, “Ladies and gentleman, electric cars are gay.” Vaughn’s character goes on to clarify that he doesn’t mean, “homosexual, gay, but, you know, my parents are chaperoning the dance, gay.”

The studio has promised to remove the comment from the trailer for the film, but GLAAD said that a version of the trailer including the offensive line was still running in theatres. There have been conflicting reports, however, that the trailer has been pulled in its entirety from theatres.

GLAAD has also called for Universal to remove the scene from the film itself, something which the studio has thus far refused to do.

The organisation has linked the use of anti-gay humour to the recent spate of homophobic bullying and related suicides that have been reported in the US.

“When ‘gay’ is used as a pejorative in such a public way for millions to see and laugh with, it legitimises and propels the many taunts that gay people endure,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.

“Amidst a rash of bullying related suicides and anti-gay hate crimes, we need to tell Universal and America that our community is tired of being used as a punch line.”

“Movies like The Dilemma that use anti-gay humour give a green light to negative words and hurtful acts that contribute to gay children’s low self-esteem, perceived lack of safety and even violence,” said the organisation.

“Rather than ignoring current events, Universal Pictures should be especially sensitive to the power of words and the message they send young people about their self-worth.”

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