Boycott of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie urged

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In this image released by Universal Pictures and Focus Features, Dakota Johnson, left, and Jamie Dornan appear in a scene from "Fifty Shades of Grey." (Universal Pictures and Focus Features)
In this image released by Universal Pictures and Focus Features, Dakota Johnson, left, and Jamie Dornan appear in a scene from "Fifty Shades of Grey." (Universal Pictures and Focus Features)

Boycott of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie urged

by: Carolyn Thompson | .
The Associated Press | .
published: February 14, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. — “Fifty Shades of Grey” hasn’t even opened in theaters yet but already it is getting a big thumbs-down from religious and other groups who say it is degrading to women and endorses sexual violence.

One social media campaign is encouraging would-be movie-goers to donate their ticket and popcorn money to women’s shelters, while Roman Catholic bishops are using it as what-not-to-do guide to marriage.

Even as screenings sell out in advance, critics, including the American Family Association and National Center on Sexual Exploitation, are pushing for boycotts, saying they were compelled to speak out because of the attention the movie, with its scenes of bondage and sadomasochism, has attracted.

A spokesman for AAFES Europe said there had been one formal complaint about its decision to show the movie, but that “the Exchange does not censor movies.”

“We are not going to censor this movie, Lt. Col. Al Hing said. Due to the adult nature of the movie, it’s being shown at later times at European theaters, Hing said. Most Exchange theaters in Europe will premiere the movie either Friday or Saturday.

A Madison, Wis., group planned to picket outside a Thursday premier.

“This is not a healthy thing to mainstream,” American Family Association President Tim Wildmon told The Associated Press by phone. “We’d like to see theater chains refuse to take the movie.”

That is unlikely to happen. The ticket-buying site Fandango has said pre-sales have propelled the movie, which stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, into the company’s all-time top five for R-rated selections, and fans of the book are giddily building the big-screen version into Valentine’s weekend plans.

The movie opens in theaters Friday. It’s based on a best-selling book by E L James about a college student and her torrid affair with a 27-year-old billionaire with a penchant for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.

“What’s unique about it is the overall message is that they’re trying to glamorize and romanticize violence against women,” said Amanda Smith, spokeswoman for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which launched a website fiftyshadesisabuse.com.

“It’s such a lie,” Smith said, “telling women that they should want to endure this kind of physical abuse and telling them that women want it, and also pushing the lie that if women are obedient and subservient enough, then they can fix a violent and controlling man.”

James, who wrote the erotic trilogy that launched the film, has heard the backlash and says the critics have it all wrong.

“Why have these books taken off if they are about abuse?” said James, who discussed the film with the AP over the weekend. “Domestic violence, rape, are unacceptable. They are not entertaining in any way. Let me be absolutely clear: Everything that happens in this book is safe and consensual. … What do I need to do to convince people?”

‘ This is not a healthy thing to mainstream. We’d like to see theater chains refuse to take the movie.'