Conservative, pro-family group The American Family Association is calling on movie theaters around the country not to show the controversial new film, Fifty Shades of Grey, due to its graphic sexual nature and glamorization of abuse.
"Nothing in Fifty Shades of Grey builds up society, respects or empowers women or demonstrates healthy relationships," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "Rather, the film glorifies abusive relationships and glamorizes abusive tendencies such as stalking, bondage sex, intimidation and isolation. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control's standards of emotional abuse and sexual violence include nearly every one of the interactions between the two main characters. Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content that's touted as 'entertainment' and choose not to show or pay to see the film."
The film adaptation of E.L. James' wildly popular sex-and-bondage novel is due in theaters Valentine's Day weekend and stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as protagonists Christian Grey and Ana, respectively. In the story, the two engage in a relationship which glamorizes violence against women and promotes female inequality, coercion and sexual violence.
Since its release, the book has sold over 100 million copies and has been translated into 52 different languages around the world. Amazon UK declared in 2012 that it had sold more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey than the entire Harry Potter series combined, and the book claimed the number one spot on USA Today's best-selling book list for twenty consecutive weeks.
As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, the film, which was given an "R" rating by the Motion Picture Association of America for "unusual behavior" and other adult content, has already attracted over 250 million views on its debut trailer so far. Online movie ticket agency Fandango is reporting that pre-sales of the movie have surpassed all expectations with over $60 million in tickets sold already.
Morality in Media, an anti-pornography watchdog, has also criticized the film, arguing it sends a dangerous message to young men and women.
"Is this really the kind of relationship we want our daughters, relatives and friends willingly entering into? With a stalker and a batterer?" a statement released by the group asks. "Do we really want our sons to become Christian Greys, practicing a violent masculinity that degrades men as well?"
A social media movement, #50DollarsNot50Shades, is encouraging potential moviegoers to donate $50 to a domestic abuse shelter to help women rather than spend $50 to see Fifty Shades of Grey.
A spokeswoman for one of the sponsors of #50DollarsNot50Shades, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told Fox News that real women "don't end up like Anastasia; they often end up in a women's shelter, on the run for years or dead."
A statement on the movement's Facebook page reads, "The money you would have spent on movie tickets and a baby-sitter or movie tickets, popcorn and drinks will go towards serving victims of abusive relationships like the one glamorized in the Fifty Shades series. Hollywood doesn't need your money; abused women do."