CNN’s Anderson Cooper (is he gay?) is picking a fight with actor Vince Vaughn over an off-color gay joke in Vaughn’s upcoming movie “The Dilemma.” Gay rights groups are also sure to pile on.

Cooper said he was “appalled” when Vaughn used the word “gay” in a negative way. The movie is about a man who finds out that his best friend’s wife is having an affair.

So what was the offensive use?

Specifically Vaughn’s character said, “Ladies and gentleman, electric cars are gay.”

Cooper watched the scene during a preview (see below) while he was waiting to watch another movie, appeared on Ellen De Generes‘ show via satellite to discuss gay hate crimes.

“I was shocked that not only that they put it in the movie, but that they thought that it was okay to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it,” he said.

Cooper, who did not mention Vaughn by name, asserted that when the term gay is used derisively it fuels teen bullying.

A number of recent suicides by gay teens related to bullying has raised public awareness about the problem.

“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.

“When you’re a kid, it can change the way you see yourself and the way you think about yourself – the worth that you give to yourself.

“I think we really need to focus on what language we’re using and how we’re treating these kids,” he added.

Ron Howard directed the film, which is slated to hit theaters early next year.

Isn’t Anderson’s beef really with Howard?

Check out Anderson Cooper on Ellen:

Check out the movie trailer: