Sex novel campaigners swap book burning for recycling

Clare Phillipson

Clare Phillipson

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A WEARSIDE domestic abuse charity which planned to burn copies of controversial erotic novels Fifty Shades has gone green and decided to recycle them instead.

Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, originally planned to torch the trilogy on Bonfire Night amid claims it incites violence towards women.

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However, organisers have decided to heed public concerns about being environmentally friendly and are now planning to have the books pulped.

“The decision to burn them was never set in stone,” she said. “It was one of a range of options that we considered and, in the end, we chose to listen to people’s concerns and we’re now going to leave them for the council to recycle.”

The novels, which carry strong sadism and masochism themes, became the fastest-selling paperbacks of all time when they were released earlier this year and have been flying off the shelves ever since.

But Clare said the books, led by Fifty Shades of Grey, send out a confusing message to vulnerable women about how they should behave sexually.

“I’m really pleased that we sparked an international debate on the subject and what it says about women and our future,” she said.

“After coverage in the Echo, the story went around the world.

“So many people picked up on it. It went viral.

“I’ve received support from so many different places.”

Ms Phillipson believed if the author had been a man, the books would not have been published.

“What was astonishing was just how many men supported us and how many women were protective of the book,” she said.

“It wasn’t a complete split down gender lines, but a lot of women loved the book and were passionate in their defence of it.

Fifty Shades author EL James has been plucked from obscurity and has made a fortune from her novels, which charter the travails of virginal Ana and the older Christian Grey.

“We’ll hopefully have the books recycled in the coming weeks,” said Clare. “We had a couple of dozen copies of the book. We even had people post them to us.”

A spokeswoman for Random House, which publishes the series, said: “The Fifty Shades trilogy is a work of romantic fiction and the sex scenes in the book are entirely consensual and the woman involved is a willing participant.”

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