Backlash for ‘Fifty Shades,’ national group says film sends wrong message

WASHINGTON – The D.C.-based National Center on Sexual Exploitation is calling for a boycott of the new movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” saying it glamorizes sexual violence.

Based on the book series, which has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, ticket pre-sales are surging in advances of the movie release, set for Valentine’s Day weekend.

The center’s executive director Dawn Hawkins says the movie’s plot is portrayed as a love story, but the film is really romanticizing domestic abuse.

“The whole premise for the book is this powerful, rich, handsome man can do anything he wants. He uses manipulation, coercion. He degrades this young, virginal college student,” Hawkins says. “While millions of women are fantasizing about the controlling and abusive Christian Grey, there are many other women dealing with the horrors of actually living with men like him.”

Hawkins says in the story, Gray portrays a handsome, wealthy, powerful man with a perfect exterior. But it is not a romantic, fairytale.

“The lie is that ’50 Shades of Gray’ is about a love affair. The truth is that it’s really about coercing a young woman for sadistic sex, glamorizing sexual violence.”

She likens Grey’s character to a sociopath.

“This is why sexual violence is on the rise in colleges, in the military, in families and on the streets. This is what happens when we teach women to be turned on by pain. And now with ’50 Shades of Gray,’ we’re teaching women to accept that and to give in to that,” Hawkins says.

The group is asking moviegoers who are thinking of spending their money to see the film to instead donate to a women’s shelter.

“Those are the places women like Anna end up in real life”, says Hawkins.

The National Center for Sexual Exploitation has created the website,, that details 50 problems the center has with the film’s message.

The site also features the #50DollarsNot50Shades campaign and urges patrons to support survivors of abuse and help educate the public on the realities of fifty shades-type relationships.

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