E.L. James’ Twitter Q&A took a turn when critics took over and confronted the Fifty Shades of Grey author about her controversial work.

#AskELJames Gets Ugly

James hosted a Twitter Q&A on Monday, June 29, to celebrate the release of her newest novel, Grey, a retelling of Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian Grey’s point of view. While die-hard Fifty Shades fans flocked to purchase the book, critics were quick to dismiss the book and use it as evidence supporting the belief that Anastasia and Christian’s relationship is abusive.

It was those critics who took over James’ Twitter Q&A, challenging the author about her romanticism of abusive relationships and the homophobia some fans identified in the books.

The critics made #AskELJames – the hashtag designated for James’ Twitter Q&A – a trending topic on Twitter, but one look at the hashtag proved that the number of critical questions far outweighed the fan questions.

Most Twitter users seemed to have the same complaint: that James’ Fifty Shades trilogy has normalized and even promoted abusive romantic relationships. In Fifty Shades, Christian Grey stalks Ana after they first meet, something described in detail in Grey. He also appears to coerce her into participating in BDSM with him and, in one particularly controversial scene in the book, does not stop a sexual encounter when she asks him to.

Of course, many critics simply attacked James’ writing.

James did not address or attempt to answer any of the particularly trolling questions, and managed to have a somewhat productive Q&A session with her fans. It’s safe to say that James does not regret any bit of the more abusive storylines in her books. When asked by a fan if there was anything she would want to change about Ana and Christian’s love story, James answered, “Yes. I would have liked to split them up for longer at the end of FSoG [Fifty Shades of Grey].”

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