Article Lead Image

‘Fifty Shades’ author E.L. James gets a hard lesson in Internet sadism

'Is there a safe word which will stop you from writing anymore of this bollocks?'


Laken Howard


Posted on Jun 30, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 11:12 am CDT

Oh, E.L. James. Didn’t anyone warn you that the Internet is not exactly a playground?

When Fifty Shades of Grey’s U.K. Twitter account announced a Q&A with the series’s author on Monday, her fans weren’t the only ones dying to ask her a few, erm, important questions. Unfortunately for the fanfiction-writer-turned-millionaire, Twitter users brought their A-game—that is to say, they were cruel and unrelenting in their online reaming of James.

It started off innocently enough, with actual fans asking James serious questions about the series and its latest spinoff, Grey.

It seems that the genuine curiosity about James’s work stops there, however. Despite commercial success, the series has received tons of criticism from audiences that found it to be a paragon of abuse rather than a love story, and many Twitter users took advantage of the opportunity to publicly bash James for “romanticizing abuse.”

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

It’s not just readers who’ve noticed a pattern of abuse in the series. A 2013 Michigan State University study found that many aspects of the story are consistent with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of intimate partner violence, concluding that 50 Shades perpetuates violence against women. Many domestic abuse survivors have spoken out against the series for promoting the unhealthy relationship to impressionable readers. Some Twitter users noted that, rather than respond to and engage with survivors of abuse, James chooses to block and ignore such inquiries.

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

While many used the Q&A to start a larger dialogue about controversial aspects of the series, some users opted to keep their bashing on the lighter (yet still hilarious) side.

Others used this opportunity to take a (not entirely unwarranted) dig at James’ famously poor writing skills.

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

Of course, no Twitter Q&A with E.L. James would be complete without its fair share of jokes about her ripping off Twilight.

And last but not least, one brave user went straight for the jugular, summing up everyone else’s questions in an impressively succinct manner.

It’s probably safe to say that E.L. James might want to take a short hiatus from Twitter (or the Internet in general) after the brutality of that Q&A. Allow us to get you some ice for those burns, girl.

Screengrab via 50 Shades of Grey

Share this article
*First Published: Jun 30, 2015, 6:20 pm CDT