The Ron Howard-directed comedy The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn, is not doing well at the box office. Over the course of the four-day weekend, the film only managed to earn $21.1 million, according to PopEater. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, has attributed the film’s poor sales to the negative response caused by the now-infamous “Electric cars are gay” joke.

Herndon Graddick, the deputy director of programs at GLAAD, said, “Although there are a million reasons why a film can fail, we hope that Ron Howard and Universal will recognize from this that alienating audiences isn’t a recipe for success.”

The original trailer of The Dilemma featured Vaughn’s character making a joke about electric cars, saying, “Electric cars are gay. Not ‘homosexual’ gay, but ‘my parents are chaperoning the dance’ gay.” (Parents chaperoning the dance might be embarrassing, but how is it gay ?) The joke caused a firestorm, starting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper calling out the film and its insensitive joke on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, saying, “I was shocked that not only they put it in the movie, but that they thought that it was OK to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it…I just find those words, those terms, we’ve got to do something to make those words unacceptable cause those words are hurting kids.” Also keep in mind that this scandal made headlines around the same time many middle and high-school kids were tragically committing suicide due to being bullied about their sexuality.

While the joke was taken out of subsequent trailers, Howard wrote that the joke would stay in the film, stating, “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.”

The Dilemma
The Dilemma

By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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