Fifty Shades book burning call by abuse charity

Image caption,
The first in the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, is now the best-selling book in British history

A charity for abuse victims is planning to burn copies of an erotic bestseller.

Fifty Shades - a trilogy about a steamy romance between a businessman and a student - contains themes of sadism and masochism.

Clare Phillipson, of Wearside Women in Need, said the theme was "vile" and urged women to drop off copies to her Washington office for a bonfire on 5 November.

Publisher Random House said: "The sex scenes are entirely consensual."

Ms Phillipson, who said she had read two-thirds of the first book before she gave up "in disgust", said she was furious that libraries throughout the North East were ordering extra copies of the trilogy to cope with demand.

Media caption,
Clare Phillipson, Wearside Women in Need: Book should be "reduced to ashes"

Newcastle city libraries have 20 copies of the trilogy in stock; Sunderland City Council has nine copies with four more on order; libraries in Durham have 13 with 320 people on the waiting list and Northumberland County Council has eight copies with six more on order.

Ms Phillipson said: "I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive, young women and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually.

"My main objection is that at a time when local authorities are making cuts to outreach and refuge services for women experiencing domestic violence, we have libraries wasting and grossly misusing public to buy a book which says: 'domestic violence is sexy'.

"The money would be better spent supporting victims."

Sunderland City Councillor John Kelly said: "We want to give people freedom of choice in what they read - it is not for us to dictate what material they read. We want to give them a wide variety of material."

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