Conservative Watchdogs Spank ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Trailer

50 Shades of Grey

In response to the release of the highly-anticipated “Fifty Shades of Grey” trailer, non-profit organization Morality in Media has issued a statement, citing that the preview “deceives the public” by romanticizing and normalizing sexual violence.

The statement describes the relationship between the lead Ana and Christian Grey as an “abuse of power, female inequality, coercion, and sexual violence” that “glamorizes and legitimatizes violence against women.”

According to the release from the organization, which opposes pornography, “Fifty Shades of Grey” sends a dangerous message to men that the sort of relationship is what women really want, and to women that they can fix violent and controlling men by being obedient.

“Is this really the kind of relationship we want our daughters, relatives and friends willingly entering into?  With a stalker and a batterer?” The statement asks.  “Do we really want our sons to become Christian Greys, practicing a violent masculinity that degrades men as well?”

“Fifty Shades” is hardly the first to be tied up in criticism from the non-profit. The organization has recently slammed Google for porn ads and reality show “The Sex Factor.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 36

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Nani says:

    I have not read the books and don’t ever plan to. I have been keeping tabs on the controversy. After reading comments from various places, I concluded to share this one thought. It doesn’t matter if you have or have not read a book or watched a movie. If you know what your standards of life are, no one needs to actually read or view something to know it’s trash, rubbish, crap, good, bad, incredible or plain stupid. We all have views based on how we were raised in childhood. Science proves that you are like your parents by the age of 3-4 and up to the age of 5 is the formulation stage. The rest of our lives we pretty much challenge our own thinking patterns that were created and we learn right from wrong as we continue to grow.

    However, no one needs to experience something to know something is wrong. There are so many examples and stories that already teach what is right and wrong, which is why there are programs in elementary schools that teach children not to “try” or “do” something that is morally wrong. So regardless of what people say about this movie, it is meant to entice and spark curiosity and scientific research has shown that the sex drive is the strongest drive in our whole bodies, even greater than the drive for food and life. I don’t have to read these books or watch the movie to know that it’s distasteful and wrong. I have been taught since childhood, learned in school, and chosen for myself that this type of “pleasure” is not what I would ever want in my mind. Is there curiosity? Yes as all of us humans have hormones and curiosity to at least look for a moment. Yet why would I even “try” or “do” just to prove a point and share my point of view? I don’t have to read to know because my instincts already tell me based on just advertising alone that it’s not what I want my mind to “see.” Our minds are powerful and once an image and experience is ingrained, that’s it. We can’t take it out. The point: choose for yourself and be careful what you put in your mind. Anyone can still have a pleasurable sex life and be at one with their partner without experimenting this level of “pain” and “abuse.”

  2. I have long wanted to comment on the opinions of those who believe that a consensual relationship that involves bondage, domination and sadomasochism is unhealthy.

    Like much behavior, almost all contain some elements within that behavior that could be classified as abusive. I would like to say that I actively engage in this sort of relationship with my husband. I enjoy being tied up, spanked, and the application of pain. At no point have I ever felt he was abusive or degrading. The fact is, that our relationship is based upon a deeply passionate and sexual relationship. The addition of a flogger or handcuffs for a blindfold does not make it misogynistic, masochistic or degrading.

    I am not someone who comes from past that could be considered damaged or abnormal. Rather, I explored fetishes and sexuality with my husband, experimented with things I did not understand, and found what I enjoyed. I know that I will never convince those who believe this is aberrant behavior. But for those who are on the fringe, Watch the movie and are curious, they should not be made to feel guilty about what they may decide to enjoy.

    • Phillip Gray says:

      Well even the bdsm community as a whole have condemned these books and I think the number one reason being that Ana never really enjoyed bdsm, she only went along with it to please Christian. E.L. James tries to portray Ana as being so empowered and structured in individuality but in reality she is a scared, conscientious little girl that can’t cope with rejection or displeasing her man… Plus her other love interest, (I forget his name) but he wasn’t a billionare, so obviously money was a factor too. That’s my personal take on what I have read of the 1st book… before I threw up lol both because of how horribly written it was (seriously, I’ve read comic books better written than this smut) and just how awful a person he was but portrayed as being so awesome. I’m not into bdsm and I happen to be allergic to pain but it’s not just the sex in the book that was disturbing to me. It was Christian’s treatment of Ana outside the bedroom, as well. I did take basic psychology in college but it doesn’t take a psych major to tell that Christian is a sociopath. He uses bdsm to inflict pain and revenge for how he was treated as a child by his father. Basically, he has daddy issues. Everything he does to Ana both in and out of the bedroom is degrading, including stalking, causing visible physical injury, and especially taking her virginity while drunk and unconscious. Certainly, James doesn’t put it outright in the book, but rather it’s insinuated by the fact that Ana wakes up in a strange hotel room with Christian, completely naked under the covers… what’s the obvious conclusion here? Um duh, she was raped. If you’re into pain as pleasure, that’s your business, ultimately I really don’t give a damn cuz I aint the one goin to bed wit ya, but let’s be real here… in the scenario layed out in these books, if in reality that is, at worst somebody is in the grave and somebody else is in jail… in the least, somebody is in a home for abused women or maybe even witness protection. Honestly, it pisses me off that so many women are attracted to this type of treatment by a man, when decent guys like myself try to be as loving and caring as they know how to the woman they love and treat her like a queen, but they find this other type treatment to be romantic and sexy? Really? Maybe that’s how EL James likes it but it’s disgusting and I really hope the movie puts it into such graphic live and detailed perspective that the audience finally sees the truth and there are massive walk-outs of disgust and maybe even demand their money back.

  3. Phillip says:

    Regardless of their sex life, I don’t wanna insult any one here especially if they agree that the book is abuse… but my opinion on BDSM in general is that if a person enjoys receiving pain as a pleasure, there’s something wrong somewhere lol maybe u hit ur head and ur wires got crossed or something cuz pain hurts, that’s what it’s supposed to do lol if it feels good, maybe u need to see a shrink. If u enjoy inflicting pain on another human being for pleasure in any capacity, I don’t care if they consent, and u have a dozen safe words, ur just plain sick. There’s a rich guy in Memphis TN, who picked up a woman he was interviewing as a maid at his mansion. At the house, he made her drink some kinda drink, brush her teeth, then he raped her anally in his pool, made her lick off blood and feces and told her that was her punishment for not using an enema. He raped her in his bedroom, and there were some S&M toys involved, he bit her nipple til it bled and he used a whip or paddle too, not sure which and he got very angry when she didn’t know the name of his company. He said it was her job interview and when it was over, he let her go home like it was all perfectly normal. Police found many sex toys scattered throughout his house, both S&M and not. Now idk if this trash is a 50 Shades fan or not but I think his mentality as a dominant was the same as Christian Grey’s and that, like Ana who really wasn’t into S&M, was supposed to submit and enjoy it as she did. Is this what happens when a BDSM dominant doesn’t have a willing participant? Maybe he got tired of the role play and wanted it for real. Whatever it is, people like that need to seek help before they hurt somebody

  4. nmt says:

    What did they expect? The whole book series is about sex and bondage. I don’t plan to see it; I just don’t know why they are surprised.

  5. Phillip Gray says:

    That’s what I would call it lol among other things

  6. Liz Delaney says:

    These books really aren’t about violence against women. At it’s core, this is a story of a boy, horribly neglected as a child, who mitigates further pain in life by exercising control(not speaking as a child, until the birth of his adopted baby sister, not opening himself to feel true love as a young man), not violence. Mr Grey explains his rules and gives each woman the option to accept or decline. No woman is coerced, or forced into his realm. Finally, it is about Mr. Grey’s ability to finally love. Anastasia is a much stronger and wiser woman than Mr. Grey understands at the outset. It is because of Anastasia’s strength and love for him that he, ever so slowly, trusts enough to let go of much of that control and love Anastasia, deeply.

    • Jane says:

      So basically you think EL James is saying that if someone is into BDSM they are incapable of loving and is in need of a cure from their sexually immoral ways.

      We know what BDSM is Liz Delaney. Ms James just didn’t portray it in an authentic light. She seems to know absolutely nothing about BDSM.

      Christian isn’t an abuser because of the BDSM, he’s an abuser because he manipulates Anna emotionally and mentally. He stalks her, he makes her feel guilty for things that are not her fault and he controls her. He tells her what to wear, what to eat and who to talk to and this extend outside the faux BDSM part of their lives.

    • big daddy D says:

      Yeah…sure it is. could say it’s unmitigated trash.

  7. nikkikbaker says:

    I HAVE read these books. Ignoring how terribly they are written and how there is no plot what so ever, the message is truly scary. Ana allows a man to control her life, eating/dressing/traveling/work. The author does try to give her female lead a backbone but she always feels bad for sticking up for herself or not doing what Christian Grey wants. Another terrible message this book/movie sends is that bdsm isn’t really a choice when you are abused or have a crappy childhood. However, ‘love’ can change a person’s sexual preferences and make up. No, hell no. That is like saying a serial rapist will stop raping because they fell in love…its a compulsion not a choice. I get that it is a fantasy of delusional per portions but we need to take into consideration what these messages are sending to society because to their popularity.

  8. Phillip Gray says:

    Unfortunately my fiance is a huge fan of the books, although she wasn’t when we started going out and if she had been, we wouldn’t be together now. I’m not into the BDSM lifestyle. But aside from just the sex in the book, Christian Grey is a stalker, who belittles and humiliates the girl at her work and laughs at her embarrassment, gets angry that she’s a virgin and curses her for it, then gets her drunk to take her virginity, purposely bruises her so she wouldn’t reveal too much while at the beach, and the list goes on. That’s abuse and I don’t understand why so many women are attracted to this. I initially thought the author was a man and this was his view of how women should act and be treated, but imagine my surprise that she’s a woman. Its shocking really lol that oughta set women’s equal rights back a couple of hundred. It’s even more shocking to me that this series is actually sold in college libraries! Hope they don’t have it high schools. I attempted to read it once and I found it very disturbing. I am perplexed that any woman with an ounce of self respect wouldn’t feel the same way, regardless of what her sex life is like. My fiance and I have fought about it, because I am very much against it and even offended by it, and I know I’m going to hate it when it comes out and she goes to see it but maybe the movie will put the abuse in more perspective than the book did and she’ll get it. I can hope

    • Jane says:

      Exactly. I don’t understand how people can find this book appealing. It’s an abusive relationship masking as BDSM and it’s not even well written.

      • Phillip says:

        I don’t get it either. As I said though, I’m not into the BDSM lifestyle so I won’t comment on that aspect of it. It’s very confusing to me why so many women go nuts over these books as though it were the greatest thing since sliced bread. My fiance isn’t into BDSM either, or so she says anyway, but she’s just giddy about the movie coming out. When I started naming off some of these abusive and slightly psycho things Christian does to Ana, she actually got upset and defensive, saying she’s read them like 5 times just in the last year and that stuff isn’t even in there and that he only wants to protect her, as if I didn’t read at least some it myself. I tried to read it, but I was so disgusted by Ch. 5 it got harder and harder to not vomit so I had to stop

  9. Jane says:

    The books are terrible anyway and the author clearly knows nothing about BDSM. It’s basically Edward and Bella in a faux BDSM relationship.

    We should be worried about those that are reading it because EL James simply wrote an abusive relationship and tried to disguise it as BDSM. The BDSM community is not happy about this.

    This isn’t some complex love story. It’s plagiarism. Seems like she copied from the movie Secretary as well.

  10. Liz Scott says:

    I wonder if this Morality in Media group have even read the books.It is primarily a love story involving a very complex and damaged character (Grey) and a naive but strong minded literature student. I strikes me that those preachers of morality have very prurient minds!!

    • Lily says:

      You are full of it. This is an abusive relationship and the abuse has nothing to do with BDSM. The books are trash.

  11. Amy says:

    I think it’s curious that nobody who actually read the book is responding. Ana wasn’t submissive at all. She was a little soft spoken and shy upon meeting him. Christian was intimidating to her, but she didn’t submit to him. She was curious about his lifestyle and allowed herself a peek into it, which caused her to be adamantly opposed to it in certain ways, but she was never his submissive, she challenged his ideas, and was never abused by him. The moment she experienced what she felt was too much she immediately said no and walked away from him. However, she did like certain aspects of the sexual relationship she had with him that were pleasurable and people who aren’t into BDSM like a little kink from time to time.

    If a discussion about healthy relationships versus unhealthy relationships starts because of this movie, then let’s talk about what actually happens in the story, at least. Christian Grey is a very emotionally unstable man, with a disturbing past of abuse. His need for control stems from that abuse and attracts him to the BDSM lifestyle for reasons he thinks saved his life. Yet, he discovers that maybe he’s mistaken about that. He wants a healthy relationship so that he can be with Ana. He changes. They are both changed by a loving relationship. It’s a love story.

    Yes, this was a Twilight fanfiction. But, I notice that the same thing is happening with it that happened with Twilight. A bunch of people who haven’t read the books are suddenly experts on how “bad” they are. Read them first, then talk about them. Otherwise, you’re just ignorant.

    • big daddy D says:

      I tried reading the 1st book…3 times. Rubbish…absolute rubbish!

      • Lily says:


      • big daddy D says:

        @amy..exactly I tried on 3 separate occasions to give it a chance..because all my female friends gushed about it. Couldn’t get past chapter 2..and I’m a reader. I felt the same way about Titanic as well. I won’t drink the Kool-Aid. If I think something is rubbish..I’ll say it’s rubbish.

      • Amy says:

        In other words, you didn’t read the book(s). Trying is not doing. I’ve “tried” to read books that others love and I have determined that they’re not my thing. No big deal. I don’t have to go on a “rubbish” campaign. They’re just not the type of stories that I like. But, I wouldn’t condemn anything that I haven’t actually read.

  12. Paul lane says:

    I’m sure that getting condemned is part of the publicity plan. Thank these Oral Morals for the free $$$.

  13. sissy says:

    This movie may very well incite a true war on women.

  14. rogriff says:

    Cant wait! Everything 50 Shades of Grey http://VineSnap.NET/#50ShadesofGrey

  15. ChrisM says:

    You cannot buy publicity like a condemnation from a group like Morality In Media. If you want to guarantee a boffo opening get the holier than thou right wing to protest. “50 Shades” wasn’t of particular interest to me but of course now they’ve made it is far more appealing.

  16. Jay Sotkowy says:

    They loved Nymphomaniac though, right?

    • Amy says:

      Isn’t that something? It seems like the morality police aren’t very consistent and tend to be the most vocal about the most popular subjects. I haven’t seen Nymphomaniac, but I’ve heard some harsh criticisms from women who have. I’ve also read some favorable ones from men and women. I guess when your story is not attached to Twilight people are actually willing to judge it based on its own merit and not some bandwagon bashing.

    • big daddy D says:

      The 50 the 50 shades crowd? I highly doubt it.

  17. Shawn says:

    Moral Majority = Repressed Moronic Minority.

  18. Samantha says:

    Ok really? The story is about love. If our daughters and sons and whoever enter into an S&M relationship, that’s their choice. We have no right to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do in the privacy of a loving relationship. If they enter into a relationship that they don’t want to be in, it’s up to them to get out. I, myself, am a 20 year old female who enjoyed an S&M relationship with a man ten years older than me whom I eventually fell in love with. He never did anything I didn’t consent to. We moved slowly with stuff I was uncomfortable with and he never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to do. We shouldn’t be teaching teenagers not to do stuff like this, we should be teaching them on all of the ins and outs of sex. They will know what choice is right for them if they are fully educated on the situation.

  19. big daddy D says:

    Someone tell Morality in Media to blow it out their ass! To quote the previous poster, they know NOTHING about the BDSM community…and to use TRASH like 50 Shades as a template only proves their ignorance!

  20. Bluezy says:

    Oh cut it it out! This is not what this movie OR story are all about. It is describes two CONSENTING adults behaving in a sexual manner that they both enjoy. While Ana’s character does not understand the relationship in full at first, she makes the willing choice to continue with the relationship and all of its boundaries. To say that this is promoting “battering” of women is a bit of a stretch. Battering would be considered, at the very least, a woman getting beaten by a man and chooses to leave and not enter back into this relationship. These groups are going so far with their own propaganda to make a point that is not really at issue with the situation. This is fiction and touches on a subject that has been almost forbidden and taboo in the past. While it is a Hollywood version, the writer of the fiction obviously struck a nerve and now it is resonating to deepest, darkest, seediest parts of the human psyche with some people who would not have gone there otherwise. This is fiction, and should be treated as such. And the last time I checked, rearing children, namely boys, are the jobs of the parents, not what movies teach them.

  21. Jez. says:

    The BSDM community is small and private. This movie doesn’t truly explain what it is or what it’s like. It is simply a work of fiction. Saying that the community is going to have a sudden inflation of violent men and submissive women because of a movie based on a book is the same as saying watching the fast and the furious is going to make a bunch of people into car thieves. The people who practice the BDSM lifestyle enter into a loving and trusting private relationship. Women as well as men are Doms.

More Film News from Variety