“The Dilemma” Director Ron Howard said on Friday that he would not remove a controversial gay joke from the film.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) had called on Universal Pictures to cut the joke from the film, set for release in January.

“THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other,” Howard said a statement released to the Los Angeles Times. “Ronny (played by Vince Vaughn) is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way.”

The joke is delivered by Vaughn's character in a boardroom: “Electric cars are gay. I mean not 'homosexual' gay, but 'my parents are chaperoning the dance' gay.”

“It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character's personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it,” Howard adds.

After CNN host Anderson Cooper criticized the film's trailer during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Universal responded by altering the online version of the trailer – a move Howard said was appropriate.

GLAAD said the joke endorses the bullying of gay youth.

“By leaving it in the movie, they are now contributing to the problem,” Jarrett Barrios, president of GLAAD, said in a statement. “The conversation started as a result of the community's response to this slur will help schools, media and parents understand the impact of the word 'gay' being used as a pejorative. Hopefully in the future, Universal and Ron Howard will recognize the power of their words and use their films to bring people together rather than drive us apart.”