"Dilemma" dispute hurts studio and gay rights group

Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:59am EDT
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - However it fares when it hits theaters January 14, "The Dilemma" has already lived up to its title for distributor Universal and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the group that has targeted the film and its trailer for using "gay" as a pejorative word.

Although Universal has cut the controversial scene from a new trailer that went online Friday but hasn't yet reached theaters, GLAAD upped the ante Monday, issuing a "call to action" urging its supporters to contact the studio and demand that the original trailer be yanked from theaters immediately and that "offensive anti-gay language" be removed from the movie.

In the showdown between the studio and the special interest group, both sides have taken hits.

Instead of setting the stage for a lighthearted buddy comedy, Universal finds itself in the middle of a larger national discussion of how anti-gay slurs contribute to teen suicides.

CNN's Anderson Cooper first raised alarms about the movie last week on his "Anderson Cooper 360" and then on a subsequent visit to the "Ellen" show, where he said he was "shocked that not only they put (the offending line) in the movie but that they put that in the preview. They thought that it was OK to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it."

Meanwhile, GLAAD, which hadn't gone public with its concerns at that point, looked as if it was playing catch-up. On Friday, following Cooper's lead, it denounced the trailer for sending "a message of intolerance" even as Universal was putting out its own announcement that the trailer would be pulled.

For its part, GLAAD said that it had been in discussions with Universal even before Cooper's remarks but hadn't gone public at the time because it thought a solution was imminent.

"Before we issue a call to action, we always give the entertainment outlets the chance to rectify what they are doing," said Richard Ferraro, GLAAD's director of public relations.   Continued...