50 Shades of Embarrassment: A Twitter Chat Gone Wrong

On Monday, June 29th, twitter was busy with one unique hashtag: #AskELJames.

EL James, the successful (yet controversial) author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series had decided to host a twitter chat through Twitter’s UK headquarters, and it quickly spiraled out of control.

While some people commend James on her series that focuses on the romantic relationship between main characters Anastasia Steele andChristian Grey, others see major problems with the relationship.

Although the book is meant to explore BDSM culture, it also features behaviors by Grey that mirror that of an emotionally and physically abusive partner, which has left men and women alike with a bad taste in their mouths.

These adverse reactions to the series were apparent way before the chat was hosted, so it was no surprise when questions began pouring into James through the social media site that called out the major problems in her novels and her profiting off of a romanticized view of abusive relationships.

One tweet focused on these problems, stating: “Do you ever feel guilty that you made so much money from romanticizing sexual abuse and selling it as “erotica romance”? #AskELJames”

Another tweet took a jab at one specific instance in the book that pointed out an abusive tendency of Grey’s character: “#AskELJames I need advice on making a BIG romantic gesture. Should I put a GPS tracker in her phone and make threats if she tries to leave?”

Other people targeted  James’ writing style, and even compared her to Stephanie Meyer, who wrote the Twilight series.

In the end, it is hard to imagine how any PR professional would have thought this twitter chat was a good idea.

With so much controversy swirling around James and her novels (she just published another written from Grey’s perspective), it was clear that there would be a lot of negativity aimed towards the writer.

However, this isn’t the first time that a controversial person has hosted a twitter chat and failed miserably. Singer Robin Thicke participated in a similar chat last year and was bombarded with jabs at his talent, misogynistic lyrics, and personal life.

What is your opinion on twitter chats with controversial stars? Do you think there is a method to their madness?

Let us know in the comments!

This blog post was written by PRowl Assistant Firm Director Maggie Wurst. 

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