Vince Vaughn defends 'gay' joke

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Los Angeles - Actor Vince Vaughn has defended the use of the word "gay" in his upcoming comedy The Dilemma after a week of controversy about whether it is a slur against gays and lesbians.

Universal Pictures last week pulled a promotional movie trailer for The Dilemma, in which Vaughn's character tells a joke calling electric cars "gay", after complaints that the use of the word sent a message of intolerance at a time when gay teen suicides and bullying are in the media spotlight.

Some gay rights advocates have now called for the entire scene to be cut from the movie, which is due for release in January.

Vaughn said in a statement late on Thursday that he supported "the people outraged by the bullying and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those differences may be".

But he added; "Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together. Drawing divided lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop."

The gay community has recently stepped up campaigns against discrimination and bullying following a rash of gay teen suicides, including a 19 year-old college student in New Jersey who jumped off a bridge after his encounter with a gay man was secretly filmed by a roommate and put on the Internet.

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