Fifty Shades of Grey 'doesn't glorify domestic abuse'

By Ben Mundy and Jimmy Blake
Newsbeat reporters


It's already taken £1m in ticket sales and it's only just been released in cinemas.

But as Fifty Shades of Grey had its UK premiere campaigners protested against the franchise claiming it glamorises domestic abuse.

However, the cast, director and author have all told Newsbeat that's not true.

Some threw flyers while one protester was removed after attaching a banner reading "Mr Grey is a Rapist" to the railings.

image captionNatalie Collins launched the 50 Shades is Domestic Abuse campaign in 2012
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSeveral banners were held in the crowd

Natalie Collins, who leads the 50 Shades is Domestic Abuse campaign, told us a separate group of protestors were responsible and removed.

The 30-year-old also explained what her campaign was about: "We set up the campaign two and a half years ago when the books came out.

"We felt really concerned about the way the books romanticise abuse and glamorise an abusive person.

"We are really concerned about the way that he stalks her, he coerces her into sex, he coerces her into giving up her car, he harasses her, he's emotionally abusive.

"We are against that, we're not against the kinky sex, we are not against BDSM at all."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionHundreds of fans turned out to support the cast

The trilogy of books the film is based on follow the relationship between student Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, and emotionally-damaged billionaire Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, who enjoys controlling sexual encounters.

Campaigners say some of the sexual behaviour carried out by Dornan's character crosses into abuse.

When asked about the criticism, Dakota Johnson told Newsbeat: "It's exciting to be involved in something controversial that some people like and some people don't.

"I wonder if they wouldn't mind waiting until they see the movie. I don't think it's that way at all."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and EL James

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson said: "I don't think you can judge something without seeing it.

"What Dakota and I did throughout the journey of Anastasia was to empower her.

media captionJamie Dornan responds to a protester's question

"Every sexual encounter that she has with Christian is one that she's gone into willingly and complicity until the moment he crosses a line.

"And when he crosses that line it's a very firm no and she has the final word - she has all the power and he's the vulnerable one so I don't think there's any glamorisation of it."

Four and a half million tickets have already been sold in the 39 countries where Fifty Shades of Grey will be released this weekend.

While children as young as 12 can watch Fifty Shades of Grey in France - it has an 18 rating in the UK.

Seventeen-year-old Iriana has joined the 50 Shades is Domestic Abuse campaign.

She said: "I think it's a disgrace they are still showing this. My friends think it's OK for girls to be part of this and it's a new experience in their opinion.

"It doesn't matter if it's an 18 - it's the fact it's degrading women."

image copyrightReuters
image captionEL James signed autographs and posed with fans before a banner was put over the railings by protesters

Security removed a banner and flyers from the grey carpet moments after the book's author EL James had stopped to pose for photos with fans.

When we asked her about the criticism she said: "Why do you think there are so many women here if it's about domestic abuse and domestic violence?

"Don't get me started. No it's not - OK?"

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