Looks like Anastasia Steele isn't the only glutton for punishment. E L James put herself in the hot seat on Monday, June 29, when she participated in a live Twitter Q&A with Fifty Shades fans — and, more dominantly (no pun intended), critics.
Shortly after the Q&A started on Monday afternoon, the #AskELJames hashtag was overtaken by Christian Grey haters who accused the author of being homophobic and misogynistic and romanticizing stalking and abuse. Others took issue with her actual writing, asking things like, "Which do you hate more, women or the English language?"
#AskELJames my bf doesn't like my boss so he buys my place of work. I should consider that generous right?
— Claire Underwood (@moderndiva) June 29, 2015
Did you write intentionally badly so people would suffer pain, but discover they enjoy it? #AskELJames
— Alice Sanders (@wernerspenguin) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Do you know what consent means? What about abuse? Very important questions, please answer.
— Sabrina Coghlan (@SxbiCat) June 29, 2015
If I stalk a girl and GPS her car, does that mean it's true love? #AskELJames
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) June 29, 2015
Which do you hate more, women or the English language? #AskELJames
— Ian Robinson (@eyeswideshut75) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames does the E.L. Stand for ELiterate?
— caitlin stasey (@caitlinstasey) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Do all these negative tweets sent to you seem abusive to you? I think it's romantic enough to be turned into a novel!
— Stephan Krosecz (@Krosecz) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames what's it like telling millions of women it's okay to be in an abusive relationship as long as he's rich. Asking for a friend.
— matt (@reginaIdkray) June 29, 2015
#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?
— Liam Dryden (@LiamDrydenEtc) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Can you confirm that you will be writing the story of Ramsay Bolton from his perspective, showing he is just misunderstood?
— Ros (@GameOverRos) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Seriously, why did you ignore then block me when I told you I was a survivor & suggested you maybe donate to an abuse charity?
— Emma Tofi (@EmmaTofi) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Is it only ok for Christian to stalk, coerce, threaten & manipulate Ana because he's hot, or is it also ok because he's rich?
— 50 Shades is abuse (@50shadesabuse) June 29, 2015
Are you as homophobic in real life as your books are? Asking for a friend. #AskELJames
— Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames after the success of "Grey," have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write
— Andrew Vestal (@avestal) June 29, 2015
There were so many tweets, in fact, that the hashtag became the No. 1 Twitter trend in the United States, and the No. 2 trend worldwide. (It's worth noting, though, that many people actually came to James' defense.)
The author, for her part, stuck to answering the gentler questions, like, "What was your favorite scene to write?" and "Have you ever wanted to change anything in Ana and Christian's story?" She did seem to allude to the mixed bag of inquiries before signing off, however, tweeting, "Off to meet the competition winners, now. Thanks so much for an interesting hour… :D"
Ultimately, she has the last laugh anyway. According to the Los Angeles Times, James is now worth an estimated $58 million.
The Fifty Shades franchise is still growing, too — in addition to the original trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, James has written the spinoff Grey, which tells the story of the first book from Christian Grey's perspective. Then there are the film adaptations starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, the first of which made more than $500 million at the box office.
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