Last week Cooper objected on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show to a line in the trailer for Vaughn's upcoming film, "The Dilemma." In the trailer and the film Vaughn's character, a dedicated bachelor working in the auto engine design business, bellows: "Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars ... are gay."
Cooper fumed, saying lines like that are "hurting kids."
Soon enough GLAAD joined Cooper in condemning the film and Universal Pictures yanked the joke from the trailer.
This did not sit well with Vaughn, who feels that censoring edgy humor is a slippery slope.
"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," he told Deadline.com yesterday. "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."
However one feels about the role of comedy in helping us talk about difficult issues, the timing for such a joke is not good.
There have been several high-profile anti-gay episodes recently, including an ongoing investigation into the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi.
Universal has not yet said whether the Vaughn line will remain in the final cut of "The Dilemma," which is directed by Ron Howard and due for release next year.