The book Fifty Shades of Grey has a long history of controversy and a bad track record of getting banned in schools and bookstores.
Years after its release, Fifty Shades is still getting pulled from the shelves, partially due to a renewed interest in the series from the film adaptation of the novel. One Catholic university bookstore has followed suit with many other institutions by removing all copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from their inventory.
According to the Heights, the Boston College Bookstore pulled copies of the E.L. James bestseller after a long list of customers complained. Well before the Fifty Shades of Grey movie came out, the bookstore had been selling the popular books as rapidly as any other bookstore. Only after sales of the novels picked up and complaints multiplied did Boston College decide it was time to place a permanent ban.
“We don’t want to offend anybody,” explained Tina Plotegher, the assistant director of the store. “We pull things off the shelves — it’s just this happens to be a hot topic. “
According to the Stir, Fifty Shades had been selling so well that it caught the attention of the university, which disallows the sale of any books that contradict Catholic values. The institution, as a private Jesuit Catholic school, took issue with many aspects of Fifty Shades of Grey. Not only does the book depict explicit premarital sex, it also centers around a sadomasochistic relationship between a rich billionaire named Christian Grey and his assistant Anastasia Steele, which does not uphold the values of the Catholic faith.
However, the bookstore made the decision to pull the books on its own before the university intervened. Plotegher explained that the decision was based primarily on customer reactions.
“They didn’t believe the University should be promoting a book that goes against Catholic religion. They weren’t complaining to pull it. They were like, ‘Oh wow, they sell that here.’ The final customer complained the other day. It was just this main one that was the force that took [the books] off the shelf. The other ones weren’t like, ‘They should come off the shelves.’ It was more of just rumblings of having the book.”
While it might seem silly to some to ban a book for its content, many people outside the Catholic faith agree that Fifty Shades of Grey depicts an unhealthy and abusive relationship, regardless of what the writer intended it to be.