Dear EL James, Here’s one way to keep that hashtag thing from ever happening again.

Erica, (May I call you Erica? It’s that or EL, which is what multitudes call you but let us have this one-sided woman-to-woman discussion on a slightly more personal level, shall we?)

It sucks about that hashtag. It must have burned quite a lot to realize all those voices you silenced via the magic block button on Twitter hadn’t gone away, hiding in their little earthen holes of Desperation and Jealousy. Oh no. They waited for an opportunity to let you know how they really felt about you ignoring their words of wisdom.

I agree, the personal name calling was uncalled for; being likened to a multitude of orifices is unappropriate when one is given the opportunity to query an author of your ‘magnitude’ in a free for all. And if you knew me, you’d know that victim blaming isn’t something I use in my arsenal. But you had this backlash of commentary about your work because you sought to silence the “Witches and Trolls” rather than admit they have a point about the abuse in your novel franchise.

Here’s a secret, Erica. All you had to do was say, “The relationship depicted in FSoG is not a healthy one and isn’t to be emulated.”

That statement right there would have lifted a fair chunk of the condemnation from your shoulders. But there’s more ire  because you decided to jump on the marketing train, the sex toys you approved would probably have to go, too.  After all, a part of the anger directed toward you is due to the misrepresentation of BDSM and masquerading abuse as BDSM. And while a popular author publicly stated “you don’t need to research fiction” [ oh, there is SO MUCH WRONG in that statement! ] and keeping accoutrement branded with your franchise seems in bad taste. Of course, this is a personal opinion, but if you were willing to remove those toys from the market as a good will gesture, you would earn some bonus points.

And let’s be frank here– you need those bonus points with how you have conducted yourself in the past regarding perfectly civil survivors and your penchant for swinging the banhammer. Oh, and sending gifs of violent acts to survivors with the assumption they didn’t read her books.

Gifs, exactly like this one.

See, it’s shit like that, my dear Erika, which makes your your own worst PR person. You are clearly not adept at coping with the opinions of others in regards to your work. You respond in an astoundingly condescending way to someone reaching out. You responded like an abuser.

Is it any surprise that you garnered the reaction you did when the shenanigans you pull on Twitter display arrogance and an unwillingness to think of others and how your work can be interpreted by young ladies looking for their own Grey? You could have pulled the plug by doing proactive PR and thoroughly exploring the works you have written and understanding the subcontext you, yourself placed there. Volunteer at a Woman’s Shelter, talk to the real Anas who found their own Christian who didn’t want them to leave. Burst that little bubble of arrogance and take a look at the real world and how our art defines our society.

You have power, Erika. You have the power to start taking the correct steps.

Just tell the world that fantasies aren’t meant to be emulated without trust and consent, and what you wrote about wasn’t about a consentual sexual relationship, and it shouldn’t be emulated EVER.

And maybe a “sorry about the witches/troll thing” couldn’t hurt either.

But here’s the thing. I know you won’t do any of that because you don’t see yourself in the wrong. You see yourself fully justified to exploit tropes in order to make bank. That’s the end game. Books? $$$. Toys? $$$$$. Movies? $$$$$$$$. With that kind of exponential multiplying-like-bunnies, you aren’t going to give up the cash cow.

Because exploiting tropes about men sexually abused as children, women hating on other women, of homophobia and racism, of dangerous power dynamics, of abuse called love, all have given you a powerbase, and like hell you’re going to give it up.

You could have prevented this, Erika. You really could have, yet you chose to be arrogant, and you see what it got you.

It’s your choice how you want to proceed. You’ve been awflully quiet since June 29th. The best I can hope for is that with the multitudes pointing out the romanticised abuse, that you had no choice but to listen and reflect.

But you and I both know that’s not in your character.

You know what you have to do, Erika.

-Mandi Rei


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