Anderson Cooper speaks out against Vince Vaughn’s offensive ‘that’s gay’ joke

A couple of weeks ago, Kaiser reported on the trailer for upcoming Ron Howard-directed comedy The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin Jones and Winona Ryder. It looks really dumb but more than that it started with a dud of a joke in which Vaughn’s character called electric cars “gay”. It’s offensive and homophobic and although the trailer was put before the recent batch of gay youth suicides, everyone involved should have known better. “Gay” is not a put down.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper spoke to Ellen Degeneres via satellite on the issue of bullying, and he brought up the trailer as an example of how media is making it seem ok to mock people’s sexual orientations. He also made a lot of good points about how the Internet makes bullying both easier and more cruel to victims.

There’s a lot of intolerance in the world and that trickles down to school…

I do think there’s something happening in our culture of sort of a lack of empathy that’s grown…

We’re living online now and it’s very easy to be cruel to people online, we’ve seen a huge uptake of cyberbullying…

[Bullying] is much different than it used to be for us, who grew up in a pre-computer generation…

I was sitting in a movie theater over the weekend and there was a preview of a movie, and in it, the actor said, ‘that’s so gay,’ and I was shocked that not only that they put it in the movie, but that they put that in the preview, they thought that it was okay 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. Someone else I talked to recently said that the words people use and the things people say about other kids online, it enters into their internal dialogue. And when you’re a kid, it can change the way you see yourself and the way you think about yourself, and the worth that you give to yourself. I think we need to really focus on what language we’re using and how we’re treating these kids.

[Transcript via The Huffington Post and Just Jared]

Cooper said he wasn’t bullied at school because he went to a small school. He called himself a “bystander” and said he witnessed kids making fun of a classmate for stuttering. He didn’t say anything about it as a kid because he was afraid of being bullied too. Ellen said we need a class in school to teach kids about diversity. She also pointed out that bullying and the use of negative terms for gay people is not a gay/straight issue. They both said that it’s time that we make the “F” word and “that’s gay” unacceptable. Cooper reiterated that we “really need to focus on what language we’re using” and how that affects kids’ self esteem.

So are they going to clean up the trailer for this very terrible-looking movie? Are they going to remove this scene or change the language in light of the recent tragedies? I would hope that something is done about it soon, especially now that they’re being called out for it. I’m team Cooper. You can see the trailer here if you’re interested. Let’s not mess this post up with any photos of Vaughn, ok?

NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Anderson Cooper visits the Paley Center For Media on April 14, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 21:  CNN's Anderson Cooper attends the 2009 CNN Heroes Awards held at The Kodak Theatre on November 21, 2009  in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

43503, NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Wednesday August 11, 2010. CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper spotted biking in the West Village in NYC. The 43 year old journalist and TV personality is seen wearing aviators, a navy collared shirt, and khaki trousers. Photograph:

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Journalist Anderson Cooper attends the Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Theater at Lincoln Center on September 12, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for IMG)

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103 Responses to “Anderson Cooper speaks out against Vince Vaughn’s offensive ‘that’s gay’ joke”

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  1. bored says:

    I say that all the time and I never think that I am making reference to a person’s sexuality in a negative light. That isn’t even how the phrase originated. I always thought it was a form of sarcasm and refering to the old meaning of the word ‘gay’… as in happy, bright and great. We cant just banish every single word out there because someone finds in offensive. Sometimes life is going to be offensive whether people mean it or not… now thats the real truth people need to preach.

  2. Isabel says:

    I have such a crush on AC. He is the most outstanding human. He is so pretty…and so smart…and such a humanitarian…and I would be his shadow if I could.

    The Vince Vaughn thing…the guy is such a bloated piece of waste. It’s fitting that such ignorance would be attributed to him, even if it’s in a script. I hope they clean that movie up…but if they don’t, I hope that struggling gay youth can see that ignorance spouts from that overgrown pig, but intelligence and compassion lie with AC…and he is someone with whom they can very much relate.

  3. Kaye says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with “bored” that when the word gay is used in a negative way that it refers to the old fashioned use of gay. It is a slur towards homosexuals and I agree that it shouldn’t be used. Vince Vaughn has totally gone downhill and it would do him some good to do the right thing with this. I’m surprised at Ron Howard.

  4. BReed says:

    Anderson C. is SO RIGHT. Glad he is speaking up.
    Whatever happened to common decency, kindness in thought, word and deed?
    I hate hearing the N word, and ugly, bullying comments about other people…things that are unnecessarily mean and cruel. The internet makes it easy–people hide behind their computers.
    The word gay is certainly not confined to describe sexual orientation. Just the other day, I was telling someone about a nice event I attended and remember telling her how delightful, happy and gay the atmosphere was. Of course, I am 59 yrs old, so maybe people don’t use that word in that way anymore.

  5. Kitten says:

    I also have had a huge crush on Anderson Cooper FOREVER. I just adore him. As far as the issue of banning words (or how we use them) that we’re offended by from the English language, I will always always always disagree.

  6. mln says:

    Bored you are in denial if you think saying ‘gay’ is referring to the old time use of the word. Its a homophobic slur at least take ownership of that.

  7. Alexis says:

    @bored Well, if we’re going to use that logic; lets all use the N-word too.

    It’s hard enough to be any kind of minority in a world so full of hate and intolerance. Is it really asking that much to help lighten these people’s burden a bit by giving a bit of sensitivity?

  8. Tess says:

    Oh this is rich coming from Cooper, the one who called the Tea Party folks “teabaggers.”

    I do think we, as a culture, are going to have to deal with some difficult realities… and our commitment to freedom of speech is on the menu.

    I believe in the absolute value of freedom of speech…a concept the founders of this nation brilliantly elucidated.

    However, we can only hope that individuals will use speech thoughtfully and without rancor.

    But Hollywood and the media are such ammoral hypocrites, glaringly blind about their own role in perpetuating falsehoods and double standards. i.e…they can say things others cannot because, well, everybody knows they’re bona fide liberals and thus good people.

    Gets old after a while.

  9. Kaiser says:

    Tess – I remember when teabaggers called themselves teabaggers. Now they pretend they didn’t call themselves that because someone finally totally them what “teabagging” is.

  10. Kiki says:

    What recent tragedies?
    Haven’t been around lately… What happened?!

  11. Heather says:

    @Tess Well said.

  12. bellebeesting says:

    co-signing Tess.

  13. Tess says:

    Kaiser, I don’t know if what you say is true, but if so, then point well taken. But I don’t think they would have called themselves teabaggers had they understood what the term meant to some people.

    Cooper, however, used the word intentionally and derisively. He meant it as a putdown.

  14. bellebeesting says:

    And with that said ^ – I am a fan of both Cooper and Vaughan.. That does not mean I think either are without fault or flaw.

  15. Anne says:

    Hopefully more celebrities and politicians will take a stand against bullying. It is so sad when we are turning against our own because of our narrowminded fear.

  16. Lex says:

    What about the B* word? Or when men call other men the P* word? Why don’t we get equally offended when people put down women directly or indirectly? I’d like to see that issue addressed.

  17. Jules says:

    Vince Vaughn is a Republican, why would anyone be suprised of hate coming from him?

  18. Katie says:

    I also say it, although I’ve tried to stop saying it in case it offends people. But I made a point of asking my gay friends if they thought it was offensive, and they said they used the term that way sometimes too and knew what people meant. I think it’s the kind of thing where, if you know me, you know how I meant it, but if you didn’t know me you might wonder. It probably should be retired from that kind of use though in all honesty. I also things are retarded and I guess that’s bound to offend some people too. Crap. Someone is going to take my hippie/liberal card from me.

  19. anon1 says:

    How about “retard” and “retarded” then? Whenever that topic comes up people seem to think that others are being overly sensitive and that no one means anything by it.
    And Jules-let’s not go there, especially considering it was a scripted line.

  20. whitedaisy says:

    With Tess.

  21. Kitten says:

    Since when is being a liberal and being a constitutionist mutually exclusive?

  22. im awful says:

    theres a very similar line in the hangover where a character says: dont text me, its gay. i laugh every time. am i a homophobe? nope.

    when someone is coming to terms with who they are, i dont think a line in a movie is the most important. i think their community and their family are the ones that have the most influence on how they deal with it and feel about themselves.

    also, i use the word retarded. again, doesnt mean i hate the mentally disabled.

    focus on being good people and stop getting your panties in a twist.

  23. Tess says:

    Kitten, I’m with you. As long as we’re guided by the Constitution, no point of view is disallowed from discussion and debate.

    It’s those who poo-poo the Constitution who are more apt to silence the opposition.

  24. Rex says:

    I’m with you Tess. That is a joke coming from Cooper.

    What ever happened to sticks and stones?

  25. Kitten says:

    @Tess-Free speech is just another things that so many Americans take for granted. I truly do not think that today’s young people understand how precious our rights protected under the constitution are. And before everyone starts screaming at me that this isn’t a “free speech” issue. At the very heart of the matter it is indeed a free speech issue. Yes, we should refrain from using language that is hurtful to others but it is a very very slippery slope to start banning words. As I have stated in many posts, everyone is offended by SOMETHING, some word. Once we start banning language based on the fact that someone is offended, we start infringing on freedom of speech.
    I know Cooper is talking about sensitivity training, not banning words per se, but he is essentially saying that the word should not be used in that context based on the fact that he was personally offended by it. In my opinion, that is a condemnation of free speech.

  26. omondieu says:

    Kiki – last week, a number of gay teenage boys across the US committed suicide as a result of being harassed at school.

    I agree that there should be classes at schools for teaching kids about diversity! That’s a great idea. These kids are going to be running the world someday. They have access to SO much information and technology at such young ages, and it pains me to see how they’re abusing such technology to deliberately hurt their peers. I really hope that this is a wake-up call to the world.

  27. Cletus says:

    Does anyone notice how Orwellian we’re getting over here? Can’t say this, it’s offensive. Can’t say that, it’s hurtful. Musn’t offend anyone, anywhere, at any time. Therefore let us cut out ALL words which may be construed as cruel. Don’t say yellow, because if an Asian person hears you he might think you are talking about HIM. Don’t say fat, because it’s mean. Where is this going to end?

    I really think all this raging sensitivity is double plus ungood. People say mean shit. Get over it.

  28. Tammy says:

    So let me get this straight. According to your logic, because tea party members called themselves tea baggers it’s okay for Anderson Cooper to use the slur. Well then, since gay people call themselves gay, its okay for the movie to use the slur. Yeah right…

  29. Sandy says:

    If you are not an adolescent boy then you should not be using their vernacular. Seriously? you say that? Do you call your friends douche bags too?

  30. dani says:

    I find it strange a newsman like Cooper would want to alter movie scripts for fear that someone would be offended…Ever see Monsters Ball? I like them both btw.

  31. omondieu says:

    @bored – Where do you live? You honestly think that a phrase that is consistently used to put something or someone DOWN originated from the old use of the word “gay”? Stop living in denial.

  32. Tess says:

    Kitten, Cletus, Tammy, Sandy…

    Raising glass.

    Freedom isn’t perfect and pretty— but it is beautiful—and it beats all the alternatives.

  33. omondieu says:

    @Cletus – Ellen and AC are not arguing for the eradication of the word “gay” from our lexicon, but suggesting that one not use it to put something down. Why use a phrase that associates homosexual people with something you don’t like, when you could just as easily say a million other things?

    By your logic, let’s all start calling black people the n-word! It’s just a word, after all! What’s wrong with it?

    I think that it is important to talk about such terms with our kids, instead of just saying, “saying that is bad”. Discussing why we shouldn’t use them might encourage them to develop the empathy that our society is in desperate need of. “Just words” are often steeped in long histories of hostility, oppression, and bloodshed. The n-word was a term used DELIBERATELY to degrade someone, to reduce someone to nothing but the colour of their skin. We’re above the master/slave dynamic. One who uses the n-word probably has no desire to enslave a black person, but casual use of it shows a lack of refinement, ignorance of history, and disrespect.

  34. Whitey Fisk says:

    Is it really that difficult to not use a couple of words because they offend people?

    Bored said: “We cant just banish every single word out there because someone finds in offensive.” Gee, hyperbolize much? Do you throw “nigger” around as well? How about you, Tess, Kitten, Cletus, Tammy, Sandy? If not, why?

    Your speech is representative of your priorities, your level of education, and your values. Using “gay” or “retard” to describe things as inane or silly in spite of being made aware that it painful to many people is incredibly indicative of the type of person one is.

    It is my opinion that a person who finds it too difficult to give up using words like “nigger” or “retard” or “gay” as derogatory adjectives has both an extremely limited vocabulary and an extremely weak constitution.

    Bottom line: Ask a mentally or physically disabled person if the word “retard” offends them. Ask them if it bothers them for a word often used to describe THEM is synonymous with a word used to describe something stupid, weird, laughable, foolish.

    P.S. When Johnny Knoxville is more enlightened than you are, you need to do some serious self-reflection:
    End the Word

  35. Linda says:

    Some people would be shocked at how many true homophobes there are out here and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about them just like there’s seemingly nothing that can be done about other bad actors in our society.

  36. GatsbyGal says:

    People need to understand that the word “gay” is changing again, like the word “fag”.

  37. cantbelievethis says:

    I teach my kids that they give words power. Words are just words and can’t hurt you. The only way words can hurt is if you let them.

    I’m not saying it is right to put anyone down, it isn’t. However the world can be a rough place and as much as you try to protect your kid they are going to be exposed to jerks/bullies at some point. That isn’t going to change. Better to prepare them how to handle it. I was called all kind of things growing up by my dad and step mom. I was lucky enough to have a grown up sit me down and help me. The insults continued, but I learned that it was them that had the issue, not me.

    As for Anderson Cooper, I like him, BUT I remember watching his show during the last election. It was a segment on Sarah Palin arriving in Alaska to give a speech. The stuff his contributors said were insulting and pretty sexist. He didn’t correct them. I can’t remember if he specifically said anything but seems like he wants us not so say things that hurt certain groups, others are fair game.

  38. Whitey Fisk says:

    omondieu said: “One who uses the n-word probably has no desire to enslave a black person, but casual use of it shows a lack of refinement, ignorance of history, and disrespect.”

    Nicely said.

  39. Kitten says:

    @WhiteyFisk-You aren’t making an argument against anything I said because if you read my post, I said that we should not use words that hurt others. My argument was against violating free speech by banning words entirely because someone is offended. Just because I support free speech does not mean that I use hurtful language towards others. In fact I am personally offended by your insinuation that I do so. I find it hurtful actually. Does that mean I don’t think you should be allowed to say it? NO. Do you understand the difference? Free speech protects ALL words, not just the ones that you find offensive/inoffensive or I find offensive/inoffensive. It’s a simple concept.

  40. Tess says:


    You mistate my views. Read my words.

    I wrote that people should use speech thoughtfully and without rancor.

  41. omondieu says:

    37 (sorry, your name’s cut off) – Of course the world can be a rough place, and we can’t expect everyone to be mindful of everyone’s feelings. Some people will always be ignorant. But why can’t we try to encourage acceptance and respect?

    It’s great that you teach your kids to be strong, and not to let words hurt them. But do you encourage your kids to be mindful of the things THEY say?

    What’s to stop a child from going to their friend’s house, and calling their friend’s mom a “hoe-bag”? After all, their parents taught them that it’s just a word, and it shouldn’t be taken to heart.

    6 year olds using derogatory language don’t understand the power of the things they say. They’re learning them at home, and repeating them in the real world. Many continue to use such words well into their adult years, without taking a moment to think about what they really mean. Taking our kids aside, and teaching them how to be socially tactful isn’t limiting their freedom. It’s teaching them proper manners, and teaching them how to make choices.

  42. Tammy says:

    @Whitey you are the one using hyperbole not I. My post has nothing to do with the morality of using hateful words, we all agree this speech is hurtful, no matter if it comes from the mouth of Anderson Cooper or Vince Vaughn

  43. Mydayjob says:

    I understand his meaning, though I think everyone should relax a tad… It is a word, after all, not a sentiment – and a word that really means bright, exuberant and lively as well as referring to a sexual orientation.

  44. la_chica says:

    “Words can’t hurt you”? Are you kidding me? Clearly you must not believe in verbal or emotional abuse, because “The only way words can hurt is if you let them.” Way to blame the victim. I feel sorry for your kids.

    Using “teabaggers” as a derogatory term is different then using “gay” or “retard”. If I call someone a teabagger in a bad way, that is making reference to my negative feelings about people who engage in and promote that belief system.

    Using gay in a bad way by saying “That’s so gay” equates gay with dumb, indicating that gay=dumb and insinuating that all gay people are dumb. So if you are going around using gay or retard as an insult, that reveals your feelings towards people of that orientation.

  45. bored says:

    So you people are saying my interpretation of the phrase means that I am in denial and hate gays? Oh dear, I should send out a memo to my gay friends and family members just to give them a heads up. Thanks for helping me out guys!! Or wait… I bet some of you aren’t actually ‘guys’ and that some of you are but dont want to be and its probably offensive to say that too…

  46. la_chica says:

    I am not accusing you of being denial or homophobic. I have not doubt that you love and cherish gay people.

    I’m saying that if you use “That’s so gay” in a derogatory way, then regardless of your personal feelings about homosexuality, your words are conveying the message that gayness is a negative thing.

    That’s all

  47. Corina says:

    Sorry the tea party people didn’t fact check before they launched a new movement…

    Or sorry they purposely chose an inflammatory name & then tried to backtrack later….

    Is it juvenile? Yes, of course. But we all know that if a liberal political faction called themselves something similar Fox news/Glenn Beck/etc would be ALL over them…so I don’t blame anyone in the current media for acknowledging the gaff or for poking fun at them for it!

  48. Tess says:

    La Chica,

    cantbelieve is preparing her kids for life in a perfectly fine and loving way, and it’s based on her own experiences and hard earned wisdom.

    Don’t waste your time feeling sorry for her kids. There are so many other kids around who have absolutely none of the grounding and support caring parents can give…they need you more.

  49. omondieu says:

    Mydayjob, you said, “it is a word, after all, not a sentiment.”

    The same could be said of using the n-word, no? So what’s the difference? Why do children who use the n-word in school get sent to the principal’s office, but teachers let phrases like, “you’re so gay” slide?

    As for the second part of your statement, that “gay” is “a word that really means bright, exuberant and lively as well as referring to a sexual orientation,” I’m sorry, but that’s just a lousy excuse used in an attempt to justify ignorant use of the term. A child who taunts another with the phrase, “you’re so gay” is certainly not telling his victim that he is lively, happy, and exuberant. The only place you hear the word “gay” in that context nowadays is in a Christmas carol.

  50. Tammy says:

    @la chica and @corina – hate speech is hate speech no matter if it is directed at homosexuals, the mentally challenged, or tea party members.

  51. Ron says:

    The Tea Party members labeled themselves the teabaggers without realizing what is means in the slang vernacular and that’s what made it so funny. And as the resident gay man here, I never call another gay friends “gay” or “fag” in a derogatory way. it’s demeaning. I understand owning the word and taking away it’s power, but just don’t use it and that truly takes it’s power away. Hillary Duff has a PSA about not using “that’s so gay” as a phrase which is pretty good too.

  52. PrettyTarheel says:

    Whoa to everyone who thinks we need to have a diversity class!!!! Teachers are already held to high quantitative standards-trying to incorporate an additional “class” that doesn’t help standardized test scores is silly. This is NOT a classroom issue! This is PARENTS failing to educate their children on compassion, decency, manners, respect, kindness, and good sense. NO TEACHER should be responsible for educating a child on how to respect another individual who might be a little different. THESE TRAITS, OR LACK THEREOF, BEGIN IN THE HOME! Children may learn from their peers, but if they are raised to understand that the Nword, Fword, Cword, and other derogatory descriptions are disrespectful, unkind, hurtful, and damaging, they will be prepared to combat the negative influences AND NOT PERPETUATE THE CYCLE.

    Parents are failing their children when they expect teachers to teach them how to be a decent human being. Just like children who show up without being able to tie their shoes, say please, thank you, or Ma’am or Sir, failing to instill respect for ALL individuals is setting a child up for failure in the long run. Being unfailingly respectful, polite, and positive will go a long way in the “real world.”

  53. Corina says:

    How is it hate speech to call someone a title that they willingly gave themselves? And a title that many are in fact proud of? To me that’s more just sitting back and letting someone make a fool of themselves without really any help from anyone else. Many of them actually state that they are fine with it because they are the teabaggers and not the teabaggies.

    I can understand the comparison though – many black people use the n-word, but I don’t think it’s ok to call them that. But to me for the situation to be truly comparable, black people would have had to come up with the term themselves, be pleased with it, use it as a verb and a call to action against people they don’t agree with, then get angry at the media for calling them what they called themselves. So, not really the same thing to me.

    Same with the f word for gay people and the r word for people with mental issues. Idk the best most polite way to phrase that – I think handicapped is not ok anymore? Maybe you can say handicapable, or mentally challenged, or? (Not trying to be obnoxious, I’m honestly not sure)

  54. Jane says:


    Pulling the “I have gay friends so I can’t be homophobic!” defense makes you sound desperate and insincere. No one is saying you’re homophobic, but rather the usage and meaning of the term “gay” has changed in popular context and we should be mindful of when and where we use it. Your friends might be comfortable with you saying the word because they know you and that you meant no harm, but still other people will, and have the right, to be offended when you call someone or something gay.

  55. Dawn says:

    I have to disagree with this article. It is the exact same thing as knowing who you can and can’t say nigga around. Its just a phrase. It wasn’t meant to gay bash or it wouldn’t have been put in there. Vince Vaughn isn’t a homophobe. Calm the hell down and quict looking for an insult where there isn’t one. Boo Hoo someone said that’s gay..i say it every damn day of my life and i have 3 lesbian friends that say it too.

  56. Dawn says:

    I meant to say that Vince Vaughn isn’t a my subjects crossed. hahaha, seriously let it go though

  57. Tammy says:

    @Corina I think the difference is the intention of the persons heart. People can use the term as a term of endearment, or they can use the term to spew hurt and hate.

  58. omondieu says:

    PrettyTarhee – you’re right, a class like that should not have to exist. Likewise, neither should the Trevor Project. There should be no need to set up havens for kids whose lives are being threatened because of their sexual orientation. I’m not being facetious. They should not have to exist, because these children should not be in danger to begin with.

    I agree with you to some extent. It is certainly the parents’ jobs to rear their children. However, there are many parents out there who should not be parents, or whose busy schedules keep them from discussing important subjects with their kids.

    I come from a family of teachers, and it angers me to see how kids have no sense of respect for authority figures, these days. A teacher sends a student to the principal’s office for hitting another child, and the parent files a complaint with the school for disciplining their child. Many children are brought up with inflated egos, and a sense of entitlement. I’m sorry, but if my child posed a threat to his or her peers, I’d have no problem at all with an educator disciplining them. You can’t always know what your children are up to in your absence.

    If there are parents out there who would refuse to allow their child to attend a diversity class, then they can transfer their child to another school where no one bats an eye at bullying and bigotry.

  59. Twez says:

    Geoffrey Nunberg, professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley, has researched and shown that using ‘gay’ as a playground insult began to come into use shortly after the gay liberation movement claimed the word and wanted to be referred to it as their chosen word of identity.

    As for the old “i don’t mean it like that” argument, there is a significant difference between earned familiarity between friends, and how one speaks publicly. Or rather, there should be a difference. It is something learned with maturity. So by all means, continue to use gay as a general derogatory term if you want to be considered a childish ass.

  60. Kat says:

    I fully understand the importance of watching what we say as to not teach children that being gay is wrong. The thought that there are children committing suicide because they’re told being gay is evil and wrong is sickening. However, I think that it needs to start at home. For example, if you teach your child that using the n word is wrong, but they hear it on tv, if you did your job, then they know that that word is innapropriate and should not be used against someone else. I really believe that it’s the same thing when teaching children not to use the f word or not to say “that’s gay” when referring to something bad. Are we really going to start blaming movies on the way our children act toward other children? I think that’s fairly ridiculous. I think that it’s also ridiculous to vilanize Vince Vaughn for a line he said in a movie. WTF?
    On a side note, I absolutely love Anderson Cooper 🙂

  61. cantbelievethis says:

    “Words can’t hurt you”? Are you kidding me? Clearly you must not believe in verbal or emotional abuse, because “The only way words can hurt is if you let them.” Way to blame the victim. I feel sorry for your kids.’

    First of all my kids are good, polite and kind children. My middle son came home last week and told me that a boy in class was mean and calling people names. I told him that this boy was probably unhappy and he shouldn’t get mad, instead he should talk to the boy like a friend b/c we never know why someone acts out. We should always extend a hand in friendship and have a kind word no matter what. The next day my son came home and told me he was nice to the boy and the boy stopped being so mean. Even the principal commented to me that it made a huge difference and the child was having a hard time at home. So don’t feel sorry for my kids. They wouldn’t call anyone names and have been taught from a young age not to do these things.

    As for blaming the victim, well, I’d be blaming myself. I grew up the ‘victim’ of emotional (as well as severe physical and worse)abuse. And I got it from all sides: my mom, step dad, dad, step mom. I spent time in foster care due to abuse when I was elementary school age. However I am not a victim. I was called stupid, pint sized b****, wh*re, and always told the only thing guys would want from me is sex, I’d never amount to anything. I survived b/c I learned the things I was called didn’t define who I am (was). I feel sorry for my parents b/c they were too wrapped up in their misery (and they still are) to see all the beauty in life. I pity them b/c they’ll never have what I have with my kids. The only way I can be a victim is if I let myself and I chose long ago not to give them that satisfaction.

    My point was that while I can teach my kids values and morals, I can’t control others. So, I teach my kids that words don’t have power unless you let them and you can only be a victim if you give someone that power over you. Instead use each situation as a learning tool and grow from it. They will be stronger for that. Of course if something is going on where I need to intervene b/c they are young I will in a heartbeat, but I want them to be confident enough that others opinions don’t matter.

  62. cantbelievethis says:



  63. Kitten says:

    ITA with everything Can’tbelieve said.
    On a side note, I’m sure your kids are wonderful 🙂

  64. cantbelievethis says:

    On a side note. Isn’t AC rumored to be homosexual, but he hasn’t confirmed that? Wouldn’t it be great for the youth of America to have someone like him to look up to? Wouldn’t it help others to hear his story?

    By not coming “out” isn’t that furthering the idea that being ‘gay’ is wrong and something that should be hidden?

    Personally I don’t care about AC’s personal life, but I saw it on another site and it is a valid point.

  65. Katija says:

    Hold on – This is ridiculous. If Vince Vaughn is saying this in character in a movie trailer, how is it his fault? Your beef should be with the screenwriter and director.

  66. la_chica says:


    I apologize for saying I feel sorry for your kids because clearly you are a dedicated mom and I am sure your kids are delightful.

    But I still disagree with the statement that “words can’t hurt you unless you let them.” People are capable of saying very damaging and powerful things. And when gay kids are hearing over and over that gay is dumb, I think it’s a little cold to say “Well, that can’t hurt you unless you let it.” Kids struggling with life, sexuality, emotion, and growing up don’t need to hear over and over that their already scary feelings are dumb. I don’t think all kids grow up with the same support network that you provide your children with.

  67. The Hamm is My Dream Man says:

    I have to say this: All of this conjecture and offense over this one line is really really stupid. Why?

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, electric cars are gay. I mean not, homosexual gay but, ‘my parent’s are chaperoning the dance’ gay.”

    Quite honestly, people are so quick to get offended that they won’t even LISTEN properly. He immediately points out his actual meaning in saying the word “gay”. There is no need for them to redact anything or change anything in a movie just because a couple of people committed suicide over entirely different situations.

    When someone says, this party is gay, they don’t mean “this party is homosexual”. And they aren’t equating homosexuality with lameness. The word gay used in a colloquial way nowadays, means lame. It has nothing to do with gay people.

    Sometimes, people clearly use the term as a derogatory word-most of the time, in my experience, they just mean lame. As Vince Vaughn used it and explained, in the trailer, in the 3 seconds after he said the “gay” line.

    Can we all please start using our critical thinking skills and stop being knee jerk reactionaries? You know what I was taught as a child? To THINK about things and come to reasonable conclusions.

  68. Alarmjaguar says:

    Guys, being a member of the tea party is a choice and therefore any term used against them is about their politics, not their inherent nature (sexuality or race, etc). You are comparing apples to oranges.

  69. Cletus says:

    Why can’t people decide their own worth? When I was called a “Christ-Killer” (I’m Jewish), I got upset, sure. My mother asked me if I had, in fact, killed him. I said no. She said “what are you worried about, then? You know you didn’t, -I- know you didn’t, so what do you care what other people say to you?”

    I don’t think people should go around being foul to each other, but neither do I buy into the fact that somehow I am responsible for everyone’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem. It’s not my job. Typically I don’t call people niggers and/or faggots because I have an entire lexicon at my disposal and would much rather insult people with words they probably don’t know, and frankly to insult a person based on ethnicity or sexual orientation is just lazy. If someone gives me a minute, he or she will probably disclose many flaws which I can then verbally attack.

    I don’t know if it’s just here in America or if it’s everywhere, but the amount of puling and whining over “mean people” is ridiculous. My god- pull it together!

  70. la_chica says:

    @The Hamm is My Dream Man

    Your logic is dumb.

    It’s like saying, “this locker room stinks like a woman. I mean not, female woman, but, ‘smells like a garbage dump’ woman”

    Either way, it’s still equating women (gays) with stinking (being lame/dumb/bad).

  71. la_chica says:


    you’re white, right?

  72. cantbelievethis says:

    “I think it’s a little cold to say “Well, that can’t hurt you unless you let it.” Kids struggling with life, sexuality, emotion, and growing up don’t need to hear over and over that their already scary feelings are dumb. ”

    But the simple fact is that there are always going to be mean, rude people. I’m not trying to be cold, but realistic and I am definitely not telling anyone their scary feelings are ‘dumb’. I would be the last to do that. I’m talking about empowering kids and giving them a different way of thinking of things. Giving them support and boosting their self esteem. Life isn’t sunshine and roses. Everyone goes through a hard time. My past was painful but there are many that had it way worse.

    I just have a different way of seeing things and a different idea of what would help kids. I don’t see how you think putting down my POV is helpful?

  73. Madison says:

    This is ridiculous, I don’t get why Vince Vaughan is being blamed for a gay joke and not Ron Howard or the script writer, as an actor Vince says the lines he’s given.

    Making “that’s gay” unacceptable is beyond ridiculous. The words aren’t the problem it’s the people who choose to harrass, humiliate, bully another person. I hope those two college kids get sent to prison, what they did is unacceptable.

  74. Kat says:

    I detest Vince Vaughn. This just adds fuel to the fire.

  75. RHONYC says:

    Cal: You’re gay, now?
    David: No, I’m not gay. I’m just celibate.
    Cal: I think… I mean, that sounds gay. I just want you to know this is, like, the first conversation of, like, three conversations that leads to you being gay. Like, there’s this and then in a year it’s like, “Oh, you know, I’m kinda gonna want to get back out there, but I think I like guys,” and then there’s the big, “Oh, I’m… I’m… I’m a gay guy now.”
    David: You’re gay for saying that.
    Cal: I’m gay for saying that?
    David: You know how I know you’re gay?
    Cal: How? How do you know I’m gay?
    David: Because you macramed yourself a pair of jean shorts.
    Cal: You know how I know *you’re* gay? You just told me you’re not sleeping with women any more.
    David: You know how I know you’re gay?
    Cal: How? Cause you’re gay? And you can tell who other gay people are?
    David: You know how I know you’re gay?
    Cal: How?
    David: You like Coldplay.


  76. Jen D says:

    As for “banning” words – no one’s saying we have to ban words. We also have a right to discuss their meaning and how they affect people. “Freedom of speech” all around, honey!

    And, finally, the whole “I have [insert name of minority group] friends, therefore I’m not prejudiced” excuse is classic. Bored, I’m sure you’re not a homophobe (since you haven’t said anything tantamount to “I hate gay people”), but having hypothetical friends who are gay isn’t the way to prove it.

  77. Cletus says:

    @La Chica- it depends on whom you ask. If you ask a White Power guy, then he’d say NO. Other people say yes, that being Jewish is a religion, not a race. Then other people say being Jewish is both religion and race, and also culture.

    So I’m not really sure. I’m Jewish. I’m from Ashkenazi stock, from Eastern Europe. Jews are a Semetic people, like Arabs… so I guess I’m White and also Other.

    Why do you ask?

  78. amanda says:

    First of all, just want to say, comparing the word “gay” and the word “ni**er”…These two words are not in the same category for comparison. At all. I am well aware of what gay people have been through, but we are ALL aware of what black people have been through. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that these two words be compared like the level of outrage they incite is on the same level, for the same reasons. NO. Secondly, do you suppose it’s possible that the word gay now has 3 meanings? I grew up with that word. Anyone who was a kid in the 80’s did. We were decidedly un-PC back then, everyone said “That’s gay” and “You’re gay”. I didn’t know what “gay” really meant (in the homosexual sense), as a kid, therefore, to me, it just meant “lame” and “dumb”. When I say it now, I don’t mean “This object I’m discussing reminds me of a homosexual person in that homosexual people are lame and dumb”. In no way am I even referring to a homosexual person or THINKING about a homosexual person. I’m not homophobic and I’d slap anyone in the mouth who suggested such a thing just by hearing me say that I think something is “gay”. I understand why it’s considered derogatory…but I just think it’s being blown out of proportion. Question: do the Brits have to stop using the word “fag”? Is that derogatory, too? I mean, they’re comparing gay people to CIGARETTES and cigarettes cause CANCER!!! DEROGATORY!!! Sorry, but if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we might as well just give the f-ck up now, all right?

  79. jane16 says:

    Wow. Hot button topic. While not at all defending the utterly gross VV and his craptastic movies, I would say that:

    A Cooper is a total hypocrite. He was one of the first tv personalities to use the word “teabagger” (a word describing a mostly gay sex act), about the tea partiers. btw, I check with a friend, a former Hillary Democrat, who left the party after that ridiculous sham of a convention (she was a Hillary delegate from Texas) and joined the tea party movement. She has a very popular blog and stays on top of all things political (unlike me), and she says she has never heard of anyone in the tea party refer to themselves as “tea baggers”, she said they have always called themselves tea partiers or patriots. I know a lot of dems that either were interested in the tea party or joined it in the beginning, it has a conservative/republican feel to it now, but didn’t in the beginning. btw, I am independent, belong to no party and never will.

    Also, if Cooper is so concerned about the feelings of other gays, why doesn’t he come out of the closet? Its astonishing. Even though everyone knows he gay, he’s been outed like a thousand times, he still hides in the closet. At least Ellen is not afraid to be who she is. I think she has a lot more gravitas on this subject than Cooper. Also, I always get an anti-woman vibe from him. Does he ever defend women or womens rights?

  80. jane16 says:

    Also, does this mean that the movie “The Birdcage” is now culturally taboo? Cuz frankly, I thought that movie was funny as hell. I don’t want to insult anyone or any group either, but where do we draw the line?

  81. Lukie says:

    I give up.
    All my comments are being deleted.
    I guess CB has already started word banning.

  82. Bee says:

    Using “gay” to mean something that’s stupid or bad is homophobic. Because, you’re equating something negative with a word that is used to describe people who are homosexual. And to all the people who cry about free speech and how we shoudln’t be banning words, no one is stopping you from saying all the racist/homophobic/sexist things you want. But, all the decent people have the “free speech” to criticize you for the hateful things you say. Free speech goes both ways.

  83. kim says:

    Irony- when someone in the closet talks about others being gay bashers and not true to themselves. Come out come out Anderson.

  84. kim says:

    The N word is used all the time by young kids esp. blacks and they dont go around crying about how offensive it is because they have spun it to be a “cool” term to call their buddies. You dont see them crying for people to not use the word and/or calling it racist. So who is to say all homosexuals find the word Gay to be degrading? Anderson Copper certainly doesnt know this therefore shouldnt be commenting on it.

  85. Lukie says:

    And teabagging is not a predominately gay thing.

    It is an “I love my partner and I am good, giving and game” thing.

    That is all. Hope that doesn’t get deleted.

  86. Ruffian9 says:

    omondieu, Whitey Fisk, will you be my friends?

    Really people, this isn’t about free speech. It’s about respecting your fellow man or woman. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to be careful and thoughtful in what we say, should it?

  87. omondieu says:

    I’ll be your friend, Ruffian! 😀

  88. Lukie says:

    @Kim et al: but is he really in the closet? I don’t ever remember him saying he wasn’t gay.
    He’s never w/a beard. Always w/a man; lately the same man. He deflects, but never denies, at least as far as I know.

    Is not discussing your sexuality the same as being in the closet? I mean, straight people don’t sit there and discuss their sexuality all the time, so why should Anderson Cooper have to?

  89. Kloops says:

    “It is my opinion that a person who finds it too difficult to give up using words like “nigger” or “retard” or “gay” as derogatory adjectives has both an extremely limited vocabulary and an extremely weak constitution.”

    yes! I so agree. No one needs to give up their derogatory word of choice, but some of us feel compelled to do so based on the evolution of society . And that *is* freedom of speech.

  90. Chris says:

    I can’t believe we still have to have this conversation in this day and age. Of course you shouldn’t use the word gay as a put down as it implies that being gay makes someone less than someone who isn’t. I find it really irritating when people use the word gay as a slur, even when it’s used in jest. It’s just as bad as using racist or sexist slurs.

  91. Zoe says:

    “I say that all the time and I never think that I am making reference to a person’s sexuality in a negative light.”

    Of course you don’t, you’re not gay. The way it was used in that phrase, and the way it is used in phrases people use it, is obviously not complimentary. Anderson’s point is that we use these words and phrases all the time to the point where we’ve become desensitized to their true meaning and what impact that has on the community it affects. If there is an opportunity to improve and be less offensive, I think we as a society should jump at it. We all have the power to look at our own actions and the phrases we use and make better choices. I’m glad Anderson brought this up, it’s true and terribly important. That people don’t even think about the deeper meaning of what they are saying is just plain sad.

  92. jane16 says:

    My other comment got lost in moderation; so I’ll ask again…where is this same righteous indignation when women are called vulgar names? A woman candidate was just called a wh ore by the other candidate, and I won’t even go into the disgusting reviling of Hillary & Sarah P over the years. We’ve reached this point where we have to watch every word we say lest we offend some group or other, but offend a woman and nobody notices.

  93. Block says:

    Maybe vv’s characer is supposed to be offensive, rendering this whole argument moot.

  94. Kat says:

    I already commented but wanted to add something else. Obviously it’s no one else’s business if you’re gay or not–however, I think when you are in the spotlight, you’re personal life becomes public record whether you like it or not. That said, I think that in a way when a celebrity refuses to come out of the closet, they are also sending a wrong message to kids. They are saying that it’s wrong and that they are embarassed to be gay. At least, that’s the way a kid would see it. Take Anderson for example, although I adore him, it’s been long reported that he’s gay. In fact, he’s regularly photograghed with his partner. I’m not trying to be judgemental, but maybe his words would have more meaning if he would get off his high horse and come out of the closet.

  95. Chris says:

    I just heard that they’re recutting the trailer and removing the offensive “that’s gay” joke.

  96. Sally says:

    Well if it was scripted, obviously it’s the fault of the directors and whoever made the trailer and approved it. This is NOT a freedom of speech issue. It’s an issue of trying to remove an offensive reference from mainstream public media. We’re not saying you can’t say ‘oh, that’s gay’ (though we might not condone it), but that a character in big-name Hollywood movie shouldn’t be using the insult. Using the word ‘gay’ to insinuate something is lame or bad is derogatory. Whether we like it or not, a lot of people are impressionable!

    Just this last week here in New Zealand we had a news presenter making racist remarks on a state TV news show (we don’t have that many channels that play news here in New Zealand, like.. 2-3 out of 5-6). The number of people who said it was acceptable language, and to reprimand him was against freedom of speech was disturbing.

    People need to remember, with freedom of speech comes responsibility – and the right for others to call you out on stuff.

  97. cantbelievethis says:

    @jane16 ‘We’ve reached this point where we have to watch every word we say lest we offend some group or other, but offend a woman and nobody notices.’

    ITA. I couldn’t believe the sexist things said the last presidential election. Including comments on Mr. Anderson’s show.

    Seems like you have to watch what you say unless someone is either overweight or a woman.

  98. Tess says:

    @ Chris and Sally

    Well, not to beat a dead horse, but your remarks illuminate the problem of the tin ear so many on the left have for hypocrisy and double standards.

    In a nutshell: So if liberals don’t like a word it should be banished from a movie.

    Well, what about all the trash that goes out that conservatives don’t like? Should that be censored, too? Jokes about George Bush’s assasination, images of kid’s being blown up for not being sufficiently “green”?

  99. bunny wabba says:

    let’s not all start defending the use of the word. obviously the lame joke was offensive and not because vince was saying electric cars like to screw other electric cars. there are gay people who are ashamed and hiding a big part of themselves. it is very insensitive to use the word that describes their sexual orientation as a put down. be creative and say something else.

  100. Sophie says:

    You do realise that Universal showed the trailer to GLAAD and that some of the marketing people in charge were themselves gay and no one had had a problem with it, right?

    I understand that certain types of language and words can be distressing. Using words like “nigger” and “fag” to harass an individual can legitimately be harmful.

    However, making a certain word or phrase taboo does nothing to address the heart of the problem. No amount of censorship in the world will stop abusive behaviour. In the case of children, bullies will find new words to replace “nigger” or “fag”, and victims will still feel assaulted by these words.

    Until progressive ways of dealing with the dichotomy of a bully/victim relationship are more widespread, there is nothing beneficial that can come from someone going on TV and talking about how disappointed they are that Vince Vaughn says “gay” in a movie trailer. Vince Vaughn is not making bullies or victims! Bullies and victims are made when children with low self esteem, poor social skills, and lousy parental guidance find each other and one acts as a conduit for the other’s abuse. Vince Vaughn did not arm the bully with the word “gay”, nor did he make the victim believe that “gay” was a harmful and accurate indignation of the victim.

  101. Sally says:

    Um, Tess, I think you completely missed my point. Not to beat a dead horse, but what has this got to do with ‘left’ and ‘right’? What has this got to do with whether or not I am liberal? How do you know that I’m not conservative? Perhaps I am conservative! And do you know what, where I come from, ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ do not have the same connotations they do in the U.S.A.

    Big, huge, massive eyeroll.

  102. Grace says:

    Kaiser – As someone who attended an early tea party and donates to tea party-like candidates, I have NEVER seen anyone refer to themselves as a tea-bagger! We’re steeped (so to speak) in history and tea-bagger is not historical at all. I remember when it first came into use, and it wasn’t by one of us.

  103. ralph nixon says:

    Oh come on folks. Puhleeze, pick and choose your battles. This also applies to AC, I mean really. Who cares that someone says “That’s so Gay” in public, in a movie or whatever. Granted many think its derogatory, and it some instances, I totally agree. But i don’t that it was meant to be hateful or hurtful in this instance. And just for the record I’m a gay man and i think the new Pop Tarts commercial is “gay”. LOL. Now with that said, let me explain that i in no way, am extending my approval to racism/bigoted remarks. I am also very saddened by the rash of suicidal deaths amongst our youth. I remember being verbally and even physically abused for being gay. I also grew up becoming a rather tall and stocky guy who learned to take care of himself. I also don’t believe in the Westboro Church and its fanatical moves. Nor do I believe that the bible was written by God, and that the words that many christians state about homosexuality are taken out of context. Its a great book for reading, but its also a story book, at least to me. These comments are my opinion but lets put things into perspective. This movie’s reference to “Gay” is so mild and really not worth all ths hype. I mean it stars Vince Vaughn, so it can’t be that good anyway. LOL.