The Internet, its relative anonymity, and apparent promise of impunity, is always a breeding ground for more-aggressive-than-normal behavior, and the #AskELJames session on Twitter was no exception to the rule. She may have landed herself a movie deal, but despite the relative commercial success of the 50 Shades of Grey franchise, E.L. James learned the hard way on Twitter that critics are often louder (and more conspicuous) than fans.
In what may have been the worst PR mistake of 2015, E.L. James decided to participate in a Twitter question-and-answer session, which ended in tweets filled with more shade than James' entire trilogy. With many accusations regarding her oft-perceived glorification of abusive relationships and misrepresentation of BDSM culture, the gloves came flying off on Twitter in a setup that was 50 shades of yikes.
The books, if you haven't had a chance to indulge, are Twilight fan fiction gone sexually astray (even more so than they are already by merit of being, well, Twilight fan fiction). The relationship between protagonists Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey is, at best, kinky, and at worst, abusive (much like Bella and Edward of Twilight). Participants in the Twitter barrage were quick to point out this uncomfortable truth, not sparing anyone's feelings when it came to asking questions like the following:
Other questions zoned in on tweeters' poor opinions of James' writing abilities, which have, truth be told, come up numerous times, particularly when it comes to the lack of variation in the writing of love scenes.
Then, of course, there was the running commentary on just how awful the tweets were (at James' expense, of course), with tweeters expressing facetious concern about the state of James' feelings following what could only be dubbed a Twitter evisceration.
Ultimately, one tweet summed it up best:
Cease and desist, Twitter and E.L. James.