The co-chairman of Sony Pictures has spoken out about the damaging effect anti-gay slurs and offensive stereotypes can have, emphasising the importance of Hollywood’s influence on changing public perception.

Amy Pascal spoke on Thursday at an event held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, aiming to raise funds for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, and said: “We still have a long, long way to go.”

She said: “Now, there is not much any of us can do about what people hear from families and friends, but there is a whole hell of a lot we can do about what people see.”

Pascal concluded by suggesting that top figures in Hollywood should edit screenplays to remove offensive slurs and stereotypes.

She said:”How about next time, when any of us are reading a script and it says words like fag, or faggot, homo, dyke, take a pencil and just cross it out,” She said. “Just don’t do it. We can do better and we will do better. We have to.”

Encouraging the audience to look online for Hollywood depictions of gay characters, she said: “How many times have you heard a character imply to another that the worst thing about going to prison isn’t being locked up for the rest of your life, it’s the homosexuality? And old stereotypes still exist.

“The most benign stereotypes would have a gay kid believe that they will end up being the asexual, witty best friend of the pretty girl, or a drag queen, or a swishy hairdresser. The list goes on.”

Speaking of the Centre, she said that it provided “a non-judgmental and loving home.”

Earlier in March, outspoken equal rights advocate and Hollywood actor James Franco, was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week.