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Copies of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey will soon be going up in smoke, as a British charity has asked readers to burn their copies of the erotic bestseller in an upcoming bonfire.

Clare Phillipson, a representative for the charity, Wearside Women in Need, spoke out against the book, calling it “vile.” She told the BBC that, at a time when authorities are cutting funding for organizations that help victims of domestic violence, she objects to seeing libraries spend public funds on a novel that, according to Phillipson, “says ‘domestic violence is sexy.’”

Women are urged to drop off copies of the series for a fire to be held in the U.K., where author EL James is from, on Nov. 5.

“I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is,” Phillipson told the BBC, “and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive, young woman and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually.” She said that she read two-thirds of the book before giving up “in disgust.”

The entire Fifty Shades series, which includes two sequels — Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed — has reportedly sold more than 40 million copies, both physical and e-reader editions.

British publisher Random House responded to the Wearside Women in Need charity by asserting that the sex depicted in the series, which began as Twilight fan fiction, is “entirely consensual.”

Fifty Shades of Grey, which has been on the Amazon and New York Times bestseller lists since its release last year, will soon be turned into a series of movies. Universal/Focus Features paid $5 million for the rights to the films, and while many actors have thrown their hats in the ring, no casting decisions have been made. (Click to see our top 5 picks to play Christian Grey!)

What do you think of Wearside Women in Need’s book bonfire? Is it right to burn a book, no matter what the content is?

  • Delena

    Ugh. I don’t care how vile a book is- it should not be burned. NO book burnings are ok. If you don’t like it- don’t read it. I have no desire to read Fifty Shades, but I’m not going to burn it. If it’s ok to burn books like this, then people are going to start burning important books, classics, books by complete and utter geniuses that take snapshots of history and/or shape generations! I don’t want the world to turn out like Fahrenheit 451, but I feel we’re getting closer all the time.

    • Gary65

      Don’t be ridiculous. She isn’t gathering volunteers to help enforce her own mandate that the books are be banned. She’s just burning them. Do we get a little closer to a world without America every time the American flag is burned? Of course not. It’s just a piece of fabric representing an ideal. Burning it leaves the ideal untouched. Book burning does not kill the concept of books.

      For centuries, the Catholic Church burned important books, classics, books by complete and utter geniuses that take snapshots of history and/or shape generations. But the books persevere and the thoughts contained within are as widely considered today as they were when the Church burned them. Farenheit 451, while a good book, is totally illogical. History books have showed that it is impossible to completely suppress the inquisitive and explorative nature of the human condition.

      • SnatcherGirl

        Look, I have my qualms with the decisions the Church has made in history, but they did not burn books on the scale you are suggesting. Before the invention of the printing press, brothers and monks were the number one source for books. They would spend hours painstakingly writing out copies and drawing pictures. And they copied much more than the bible. It’s because of them that records of the greek philosophers (Plato, Socrates, Aristotle) survived to this age. Not even during the Spanish Inquisition, did they burn books. Did they ban them? Sure! People are still banning books to this day. But to say that “For centuries, the Catholic Church burned important books, classics, books by complete and utter geniuses” is a historical fallacy. The only major book burning I can think of off the top of my head is the Nazi book burning. And we already knew the Nazi’s were crazy. So please check you facts before making statements with such huge implications.

        • Gary65

          Right. They just burned people instead and sentenced them to die. The point is the same. Burning the representative of an ideal has absolutely no effect on the ideal itself. Therefore, the idea that books are too sacred to be burnt is the true fallacy here.

          And what do you suppose the Church did if they happened to come across a copy of a book they had banned? Do you think they locked it in a cupboard for safe-keeping?

          • SnatcherGirl

            I never said that “books are too sacred too be burnt.” I only adressed the Catholic Church burning books for centuries. I agree that an idea is very hard to kill. And that burning these books will in no way affect their impact on today’s culture. Now, I don’t know what that has to do with burning people.

            I didn’t live through the Spanish Inquisition. But I do know that more often or not, people were locked up for possessing illegal things, or that the authors were persecuted. And also that communication and travel was much harder than it is today, making it very hard to get an updated list of banned books to every town. And it’s reasonable to assume that books were burned. But again,  not on the scale you were suggesting.

          • Gary65

            What about the Cathars of Languedoc? The Church destroyed almost every copy of their holy texts during the Crusades. That seems pretty large scale to me.

          • YeahThatRedSidewalk

            Burning books and burning people is definitely NOT the same. Books are manifestations of ideas, yes, but a HUMAN LIFE is very different from paper and ink. Books being too sacred to burn is, I give you, false, but that does not apply to humans in any way shape or form. I am in no way part of the Church fanclub, but I think you are looking at it way out of context here.

            I don’t know much about the Church and book burning, but perhaps you could cite a specific period in history where that was condoned by the Church?

          • Gary65

            I’m not exactly sure where you got the idea that I thought burning books was the same as burning people. My point was that the Church went to horrific lengths to suppress any ideology that disagreed or criticized their own. They had a list of banned books a mile long. What do you suppose they did they found a copy of a banned book? 

            Ever hear of the Crusades? The Cathars of Languedoc to be specific?

      • Delena

        God, I didn’t literally mean the F451 thing- I just mean that people act so mindlessly sometimes. I meant we’re like that book in the way that most people pay more attention to media like TV more than they do books and that makes them closed minded and/or ignorant, which then makes them think it’s ok to burn books. I know that all books aren’t close to being banned in our society, but that’s not the aspect of F451 that I was talking about.

        • Gary65

          My point is the same. The idea that a book is  some sort of sacred object is the same argument US Repubs used to make to try and get an amendment banning flag burning inserted into the Constituion. It made as little sense then as it does now.

  • applepie

    I don’t believe it is right to burn a book, no matter what the content is. So, it’s a good thing this book is so terribly written that I don’t even consider it a book.

    • Ceci

       Bahaha I agree with you 100%! I hate the concept of burning books but strangely enough (or maybe not that strangely) I don’t mind the idea of burning this one.

      • http://twitter.com/Siriusnerd007 Kristen Keys

        I totally agree with both of you. I think book burnings are ridiculous, but when it comes to this book, I have no problem!

  • http://forgiveyourmind.tumblr.com/ Tariq

    While I understand her motive and her point that abuse is no joking matter, I find book burning to be the most ridiculous thing ever, regardless of content.

    Burning a book does nothing, it’s money and natural resources that you’ve now destroyed that you should have recycled instead. At least that way youd have made something you hate into a completely new product. Make a point of shredding these books into abuse prevention pamphlets instead, that would be creative.

    I dont like 50 Shades at all, but would I burn it? No! That’s ludicrous.

  • Liam

     Well that’s just downright mean. The poor flames having to touch that horrendous novel…

  • Elise

    Book burning is not effective or good no matter what the book is and what your stance is. There are much more realistic, less extreme ways to protest or make your feelings known about something without resorting to such drastic measures.

  • Ncnapper92

    Even though this book shouldn’t qualify as literature, you should never burn books. If you really hate a book, don’t mention it at all. If you ban it, or bash it, everyone will want to read it. If you ignore it, unless it is actually good, it will fade away.

  • bebutlittle

    The funny thing is that, up until recently, most people were reading Fifty Shades of Grey on their Kindles.

  • guest

    I wonder if they realize that this might increase the book’s popularity by piquing the curiosity of others who have not read the book. On the other hand,I agree that book burning is awful.

  • Eliz

    While the organization’s intent is commendable, they are only drawing more attention to the book and increasing reader interest in its questionable content.

    • Gary65

      Right cos the series really needed help in that dept.

      • chaelainev

        Yea I think everyone has heard about 50 shades by now… o.0

  • Eddardpotter

    While I do not agree with the general content of the trilogy, I think they could do better than burnig books, I think it’s something that should b outlawed. Let the editors decided whether these books belong on the market.

    • Sarah McCabe

      Wait, excuse me? You think book burning should be outlawed? People can burn flags, but they can’t burn books? Outlawing book burning would actually be a huge violation against freedom of speech. If someone wants to burn any of their possessions, including books, they should be free to do so. They just shouldn’t be forced to do it.

  • VideoKilledSeverusSnape

    I do agree with what she about the content of the books, but burning them only makes it much worse.

  • Musician

    Why is burning books evil? If you want to burn books, you should be allowed to burn books. You just shouldn’t force other people to burn their possessions, or turn them in to censorship authorities for not burning books. It’s not Fahrenheit 451. In this case, a book burning can actually be an expression of free speech.
    It’s a kind of reverse censorship to say people shouldn’t be allowed to do what they will with intellectual or creative material. It’s for charity, and they’re not storming houses to take people’s books. Oddly enough, they’re even supporting the author by asking for donations of the book!
    (This makes me think of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. If I have to burn books to keep warm, I would. Why not to raise money?)

    • Musician

      I’m sorry, the article doesn’t explicitly state that they’re raising money. I took that from the mildly confusing headline.

  • Concerned Guest

    “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.” – German Poet Heinrich Heine in 1823

    • Jack

      Somehow, I doubt he was referring to Fifty Shades. It not that it can further your life as a human being. It’s just trash.

  • Fakecheeseisyum

    That just doesn’t sound okay. Burning the books publicly is a terrible insult to the author who was quite frankly just trying to make entertainment. If people want to burn these books publicly they should. But encouraging other people to burn them for charity? Those things just don’t go together. There are other possitive ways to fight against abusive relationships!

  • RussellTurner

    I dont care what book it is.. burning books is just WRONG! 

  • rdh014

    I just think of Fahrenheit 451 and shudder. I definitely find the book to be disgusting, but I don’t see the point of burning it in public. I say, burn it in private.

    My mom used to buy old wiccan books at garage sales and that sort of thing, and then burn them in private. She thought they were bad, and she got rid of them on her own time…not in a huge public manner. 

    Regardless of your point of view, the burning is not going to do anything but gain haters. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1045615098 Riana-Tiana Menezes

    If people want to burn books they should be allowed to burn books. You can’t outlaw that.  It’s just another form of freedom of speech.

  • Guest

    While they’re at it, they might as toss their Twilight books into the fire.

  • Lola

    If you don’t like the book, well, simply don’t read it. No one is forcing you. But the idea of burning books seems so medieval and barbaric. I mean, why burn the pages when it’s the printing ink that is responsible for the text and content of the book? 

    • Guest

      Ill logic… You can’t know you won’t like a book until you’ve read it.

  • Laura Thompson

    This woman has the right idea! Burn the books. I tried for years, as many of you know, to stop the Harry Potter series from growing as it did, due to its Witchcraft. I was unsuccessful, as you kids just love your boy wizard. I will be buying at least 10 copies of all Fifty Shades of this Grey and burning them all for charity. What does that title even mean?!?!?! Theres not possibly 50 shades of Grey. Dark grey, light grey, regular colored grey, thats 3. Name me 47 more. But on a more serious note you people need to burn your Harry Potters. Witchcraft is bad. If I could talk to Phillipson I’d tell her, “Your just as sane as I am”.

    • Laura Thompson

      You all may know me as Laura Mallory, I got married. 

      • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen


      • Gary65

        Laura Mallory was already married. And as the devout Christian she was, she was against divorce :P

    • SpiritWitch120

      Harry Potter is not just about witchcraft. Don’t be so close minded as to say that we should burn Harry Potter because ‘witchcraft is bad’. If you’d actually read it you’d see the important messages the books try to send, the lessons the books teach, even the religious allegories that span the 3407 pages and that it is not just ‘all about witchcraft’.

    • WillowBlood

      Harry Potter is not about witchcraft, like SpiritWitch said. It is about how love always triumphs in the end, it is about the bond of friendship, it is about good triumphing over evil. It is about soldiering through hardships but not losing yourself, it is about greeting death with your head held high. There’s a reason “us kids” love our boy wizard.

    • FelixFelicis

      Harry Potter is not about witchcraft, woman!!! Read the books before you comment! If anything, it is actually a parody of people who think like you!!

    • Mitch

      All of you that are freaking out over this comment just got trolled.  

    • chelseamiles


    • WillowBlood

      Also, just a question, do you think the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings or Percy Jackson are evil? 

    • VoldyBored


    • Gary65

      LOL You moron!!! Laura Mallory was the one who tried to get the HP books banned. Laura Thompson is a Mugglecast host and a huge HP fan.

    • Morgen71

      For a second I belived you then I burst out laughing

    • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

      Hahaha there are only 3 shade of grey :p

  • Alexandra Salva

    This is ridiculous. I respect his opinion on the novel but seriously, Burning books? 

  • http://downtown-people.tumblr.com/ H.S.

    Like Riana-Tiana Menezes said below, burning books is a form a freedom of speach. I kind of agree. But that doesn’t make it clever. Burning books seems so medieval. When you don’t like a book, then don’t read it, or write a review for your local newspaper. I don’t really know what this book is about (I’ve read aweful reviews about it though), but if her motives are as exaggerated as the ones people who burnt some Harry Potter books had, then this needs to stop.

  • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen

    I’m sorry, no matter how “vile” you think a book is, book burning is unethical. You can consider it “freedom of speech”, but it is still a violent act and will not solve anything. It is a travesty that women who need help are not getting the support they need, but burning fifty shades of grey isn’t going to fix this problem.

    • Guest

       It’s more symbolic. It’s not like they’re burning the only copies in the world!

      • http://twitter.com/SarahKHansen S.K.Hansen

        Burning books is symbolic, but it is a violent symbolism, the destruction of ideas. As others have mentioned in previous posts, there are much more positive and creative ways to use the books.

  • Jordan

    I love books to death but this I think this is brilliant. They’re burning it because of all the sexual and domestic abuse the book practically praises. Let them burn it!

  • Cathytrapasso

    This woman didn’t read the whole series. She doesn’t know what she is talking about!

  • http://twitter.com/CherryVanillaAd Cherry Vanilla

    Er … shouldn’t they be burning many other titles as well???
    Mhhh sadly, if some peopled had doubts about reading 50Shades, some WILL read it now, just to see what the fuss is about. Actions like this are giving more attention to the book. Anyway, they are free to do as they please, that’s freedom os speech.

  • Jocelyn

    No matter the content, no book deserves to be burned.

  • Magicarp Power

    I do not believe that any book, no matter how hideous, deserves to be burned. Such an act infringes on the freedom of speech. Even though this is for charity, it is still sending the wrong message.

  • Thetatteredshoe

    This just seems like a really rude grab for attention. 

  • ultron

    Don’t forget twilight!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NZE5JZ7B5F2TBKWPD2LJBBU4QM Paula

    This woman is a moron who clearly hasn’t read the books.  I know the writing is terrible, but it does not advocate or in any way support, promote or otherwise suggest that domestic violence should happen or is a good thing..to use her own word, domestic violence is VILE…and burning books is just wrong and small minded.  Why don’t you try selling any used copies that are donated instead of burning them and then donate that money to a shelter, etc., if you have already bought the books.  They are still the 3 best sellers…so someone is clearly buying them. 

    • disgusted

       I disagree, the violence and humiliation in the books as far as I have read and been in conversation about, does not excuse the portrayal of violence as sexy and provocative.  When a man controls, humiliates and hurts a woman, it is wrong.  Those who are in shelters and are in destitute circumstances are probably the ones most effected by this small minded thought, that donating books that show  this as sexy is pure lunacy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000918686388 Peaceful Pearce

    Can we do that for Twilight two? The writing was terrible and repetitive; there was no plot and the characters did make me emotional what-so-ever—except for Bella: she was annoying as hell.

  • Azeem


  • happylittlevegemite

    Book burning always makes me uncomfortable…… though, I’m quite happy to imagine these books burning, but probably for different reasons to this charity…

  • Sarah

    Apparently many people here don’t understand the whole “freedom of speech” concept. There is a huge difference between book burning and book banning. If you don’t like something, be it a book, be it a law, be it whatever, the government of free societies such as the U.K. gives people the freedom to express this dislike in any way they want, as long as it does not physically hurt someone or damage their private property. The purpose of “freedom of speech” is not to suppress controversial thought but to protect it. Therefore Ms. James had every right to write Fifty Shades of Grey, and the people who bought the book have every right to burn it if they hate it, because book burning, even if you don’t agree with it, is a very powerful visual symbol. Now, if Clare Phillipson wanted to ban the books, and thereby repress Ms. James’ free speech, that would be a much different story. However, that is not the case, and there can be no argument that this book burning is suppressing freedom of speech in any way, shape or form. In fact, it is cases such as this that freedom of speech is intended for.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Lulu1 Lupita

    This makes no sense at all lol why would I buy 50 shades of Grey & burn it?!? This whole plan will only make EL James’ bank account grow. How about just not buying the book if it bothers you so much! Plus think about the poor people that have the book on an E-reader 0_o what will they burn?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607519910 Catherine Lai

    Sorry, but there’s a very big difference between domestic violence and BDSM sex.  The latter is practiced by many many people in safe, consentual relationships.  Even by some feminists.  This woman has no idea what she’s talking about.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shady.laine.brown Laine Brown

      I sincerely agree with you, I practice a BDSM relationship and it is in no way even close to a domestic violence situation. Narrow-minded fools the lot of them.

  • jp

    Well I haven’t read the book, but isn’t it BDSM?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1534802836 Kaley Eidson

    No matter the book, you should never burn it. It’s just wrong.There are way more productive ways to take a stand against it. Write against it. Make a documentary. Challenge the author to a debate over the vileness of it.  Burning a book is just wrong. Period.

  • Becky

    Book burning is a terrible idea, regardless of the book. If you buy it just to burn it, you’re supporting the author which is against your idea in the first place. It’s a waste of money. Just donate the cost of the books to the charity instead of buying physical copies. Not to mention burning books is air pollution that serves no purpose. This book isn’t hurting anyone. Act like an adult and just ignore the things you don’t like instead of burning them. Grow up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shady.laine.brown Laine Brown

    The act of book burning is vile in itself. It’s just wrong. Can’t believe this woman thinks the book promotes domestic violence, clearly NO ONE has done any research into a BDSM relationship. I, myself, practice such a lifestyle and it is far from being a domestic violence situation. It’s these narrow-minded fools that are dragging everyone down. Do your research, I don’t mean to force anyone to read these books but I hate the misconceptions being so public and brutal, as in this case the burning of the book. In all honesty there are far worse books out there. Have fun being just like the Nazis book burners!

    • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

      I agree. I don’t care what book it is, do not burn it please.

  • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

    This is really embarrassing. As a reader, the symbolism in book burning is horrific. What disappoints me even more is the people who have chipped in and added that people should burn Twilight as well. Twilight is fine. 50 Shade is fine. Don’t read it if you don’t like it. At the very least, these books get people to read. Sure, they are fun to poke fun at, but burning them. People, really?

    This lady that’s doing this for charity clearly doesn’t have any respect for the author. I don’t care what charity this is for, she’s is a cruel person. And further more, has not done her research. Anyone can tell you that the book is just a kinky romance novel based on Twilight. There’s no sneaky motives in this one.

  • Keep Calm and Ship Klaine

    I could never find it in myself to burn a book.

  • Ceci

    I hate the concept of burning books because I see them as being sacred. However… This doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I like the idea of there being fewer copies of this horrible series in our world…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001368411440 Anna Shadid

    Someone needs to read Fahrenheit 451…..

  • Hermioneissocoollike

    This made me have faith in people again!!

  • Mrs_Badcrumble

    As dreadful and inappropriate as a book can be, the act of burning books has historical and social connotations that are very negative and can’t be put aside. This Association can be against the book, but burning them in a big fire isn’t the best way to draw attention to the matter… Their concern might be a valid one, but it is lost in the act.

  • laly

    I agree they should burn the books.

  • 50shadesofshutthefuckup

    Will somebody say something original for fucks sake. How bout this, BURN E.L. MOTHERFUCKING JAMES. Slay that pig-woman and make the publishing world aware that crap will be dealt with in the harshest manner. If it does nothing to better a person, if it does not have a message other than “I like being submissive” or any other amoral bullshit, it deserves to die. It isn’t literature, its garbage.

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