Vince Vaughn has said that a joke about “gay” electric cars must stay in his new film because comedy should not be censored.

A trailer for The Dilemma was cut last week by Universal Pictures after gay rights activists complained about the joke.

In the trailer, Vaughn is seen telling a boardroom: “Electric cars are gay. Not homosexual gay, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay.”

He was criticised by lesbian presenter Ellen DeGeneres and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who said that such jokes harm gay teenagers.

The actor told Deadline that he supports efforts against bullying but comedy should not be subject to “dividing lines”.

He said: “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.

“Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.”

He added: “Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop?”