Erotica Writers Call E.L. James' Disastrous Twitter Q&A "Bullying"

"I witnessed a woman being ripped to shreds on a public forum."
by Rebecca Rose
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Following the train wreck of a Twitter Q&A with Fifty Shades of Grey writer E.L. James, The Frisky reached out to some erotica writers to get their opinions. James was bombarded with everything from jokes about her questionable writing skills to outright accusations that she supports domestic violence and stalking. Some prominent erotica writers weren't exactly thrilled with some of the responses to the best-selling author, while others were glad she was being pressed about certain issues in her books.

Some believe James should be held accountable for what many critics cite as a poor representation of the BDSM community. "The legitimate questions and comments about her romanticizing an abusive relationship and the fact that the books are poorly written are no surprise," said Abigail Ekue, author of The Darker Side of Lust. "[That] should have been addressed."

Rose Caraway, editor of The Sexy Librarian's Dirty 30 Vol. 1, sees a huge double standard in the way James is being treated as well as a blurring of the lines when it comes to people being able to differentiate a writer from the characters they write.

"Look at Rob Zombie or Quentin Tarantino," Caraway told The Frisky. "Nobody thinks that either of those directors/writers are mass murderers—killers. Yet, exclusively their films portray exploitive, gruesome scenes of murder and mayhem. I think it's silly that there are people out there who think EL James personally condones or endorses 'violence against women.'"

"Anyone who's on Twitter knows that Twitter has basically become a huge shaming/blaming culture, particularly for creative people," said Shanna Germain, author of As Kinky As You Wanna Be: Your Guide to Safe, Sane, and Smart BDSM. "So the harassment and bullying wasn't unexpected, but that doesn't make it right."

Editor of Chemical [se]X Oleander Plume said the Q&A was just another terrible example of the mob mentality online. "I witnessed a woman being ripped to shreds on a public forum," Plume said. "Her crime? She had the audacity to write a book that was less than a literary masterpiece, get it published, and become a raging success."

Germain questions why bullying creative people is acceptable and often heralded. "When a creative person makes something that we don't like or whose work we disagree with, we jump right onto the bullying train, as if being a creative person makes you less than human," she said, noting that it's one thing to offer valid and constructive criticism and another to attack someone on a personal level over something they wrote. "You are purposefully causing emotional distress and anguish for another person."

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"It was pretty ballsy of her to go the Twitter route," said Caraway. "I appreciate that courage. EL James knew that the trolls would come trolling."

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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