‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Star Dakota Johnson Doesn’t Think BDSM Content Promotes ‘Abuse and Violence’

Either way, the movie grossed $8.6 million at the domestic box office on Thursday night, alone

Last Updated: February 14, 2015 @ 9:49 AM

“Fifty Shades of Grey” does not promote “abuse and violence” in relationships, according to star Dakota Johnson.

The actress who plays Anastasia Steele — the college student who willingly submits to billionaire Christian Grey’s BDSM fetish in the bedroom — defended the Universal Pictures release during an interview with Digital Spy.

“I know that a lot of people, before seeing the movie, were thinking that it’s promoting abuse and violence, but I think it’s actually doing the opposite,” Johnson said. “It was really important for [director Sam Taylor-Johnson] and I to maintain the level of integrity in Anastasia throughout the entire film because I really don’t think that she’s a weak, submissive vicim. I think she’s a strong woman who is fearlessly exploring herself emotionally and sexually.”

“Fifty Shades,” an adaptation of author E.L. James‘ best-selling erotic novel, has been a hot topic for those concerned about its sexual content.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation listed it as the third highest offender on its annual “Dirty Dozen,” which names the top 12 contributors to sexual exploitation in America.

“This bestselling series and film glamorize and legitimate [sic] violence against women through sexual violence, abuse of power, female inequality, and coercion,” the organization, formerly known as Morality in Media, complained. “Help us inform mainstream pop culture and news outlets that are promoting the material and the abusive lifestyle it promotes.”

Negative buzz doesn’t seem to be hurting the highly anticipated release, though. The R-rated romantic drama scored $8.6 million from Thursday night screenings in the U.S., alone, and is on course to break the record for a Presidents Day weekend debut of $63.1 million, currently held by 2010’s “Valentine’s Day.”

Reviews, however, won’t help. “Fifty Shades” has a mere 30 percent approval rating from critics counted on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Despite the condescending snark and ridicule the books and the movie has received for supposedly introducing S&M to soccer moms, ‘Fifty Shades’ is certainly not the sexually progressive story it could be,” TheWrap‘s Inkoo Kang wrote in her review. “Christian’s sexually dominant tendencies are related to his mysterious but tragic past, the implication being that only damaged weirdos are into BDSM. That correlation is not only demeaning but also represents one of the film’s most tonally discordant and melodramatic moments.”

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