Ron Howard On Keeping 'Gay' Joke In 'The Dilemma': I Believe In Sensitivity... Not Censorship'

Ron Howard attends the world premiere of 'Angels & Demons' at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on May 4, 2009 in Rome, Italy Ron Howard attends the world premiere of 'Angels & Demons' at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on May 4, 2009 in Rome, Italy

Despite being pulled from the movie’s trailer after a whirlwind of controversy, an “electric cars are gay” joke will remain in “The Dilemna” for the film’s upcoming theatrical release, director Ron Howard told the Los Angeles Times.

“Our lead character of Ronny Valentine [played by Vince Vaughn] has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what’s okay to say,” Howard told the Los Angeles Times in a lengthy letter on Friday. “He tries to do what’s right but sometimes falls short. Who can’t relate to that?

”[Ronny] can be offensive and inappropriate at times and those traits are fundamental to his personality and the way our story works,” Howard wrote.

The Academy Award-winning director made it clear, however, that the controversial line was not an ad lib by the film’s star, Vince Vaughn.

“Vince is a brilliant improvisational actor, but in this case, it was always in the script,” Howard continued.

The 56-year-old actor-turned-director/producer also revealed that he believes it was “inappropriate” for the studio to remove the line from the trailer.

“I believe in sensitivity but not censorship,” Howard told the publication in his letter.

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, the original trailer for “The Dilemma” shows Vince’s character in the middle of a business presentation saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but you know, my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay.”

Vaughn spoke out regarding the controversy after Universal reworked the trailer to remove his character’s derogatory line.

“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,” Vaughn previously told Deadline. “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?”

Adding to the controversy was the timing of the joke going public, as the trailer featuring the off-color joke was released in the wake of the suicides of five teenagers – all who had been bullied, taunted or tormented for being gay.

Numerous celebrities have rallied to bring attention to the issue — comedian Margaret Cho wore a rainbow-colored dress during her final performance on “Dancing with the Stars,” and dedicated her dance to LGBT youth.

Ellen DeGeneres also expressed her anguish over the situation on her talk show, while Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes, Lance Bass, Nate Berkus and Tim Gunn shared their thoughts on “Larry King Live” about the harrowing subject.

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